Global Harmful Algal Blooms

Benthic HABs

New tools are necessary to manage and mitigate the impacts of benthic blooms on human health and the environment.

P.T. Lim, University of Malaya

L. Escalera, SZN

HABs and Aquaculture 

The oyster farms are susceptible to algal biotoxin contamination and blooms that have direct lethal effects on the shellfish

Cawthron Institute

Observation, Modelling and Prediction

New capabilities in observation and modelling will improve the detection and prediction of HABs

O. Wade, Hawkes Bay Regional Council

Biodiversity and Biogeography

Combining modern and classic taxonomy tools and long time series will contribute to identify the factors that determine the changing distribution of HAB species and their genetic variability.

C. Whyte, SAMS

Freshwater HABs and Cyanobacterial HABs
Coordination will help to develop a global perspective in advancing the science and management of freshwater HABs, and cyanobacterial HABs in marine, brackish and freshwater habitats

M. Burford, Griffith University

One Health
The most efficient way to protect human and animal health is to prevent exposure to contaminated sea products.

Washington State Department of Health

In the broader picture GlobalHAB contributes to improved management of HABs as an ocean hazard through improved preparedness and early warning systems contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goal 11, target 11.5 and Priority 4 and Global target 7 of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) 2015-2030.


Global Harmful Algal Blooms - GlobalHAB - an international science programme on HABs building on the foundations of GEOHAB

  • Science and Implementation Plan

An international programme sponsored jointly by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO

Click here to view and download the PDF.

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GlobalHAB news and events are announced at the front of this web site and in the IOC 'Harmful Algae News' newsletter which also serves as the newsletter for GlobalHAB. Link to download of Harmful Algae News.


A Good Practices Manual to investigate the impacts of Climate Change on HABs

When and where: 2018-2020

Editorial Board: Mark Wells: US (Chair, link with PICES); Michele Burford, Australia (Freshwater), SSC; Marina Montresor, Italy, SSC; Grant Pitcher, South Africa; Gires Usup, Malaysia, IPHAB, SSC. 

The Editorial Board will meet 26 February to 1 March 2018 at the Stazione Zoologica di Napoli to:

  • Select authors for the chapters in base of expertise/topics, geographic distribution and gender balance.
  • Develop timeline for production of the guide.
  • Develop outline for the guide, looking for advice (as necessary) outside the Editorial Board.
  • Identify potential publishers considering editorial conditions (page limits, balance between text and figures, formatting guidelines, cost, online format, etc.). In coordination with the GlobalHAB SSC, IOC and SCOR select publisher.
  • Develop a budget for the production and publication and, with GlobalHAB SSC and its sponsors, seek the required funding.
  • Oversee review process for draft chapters.


A scientific Summary for Policy Makers on mitigation strategies for freshwater cyanobacterial blooms

When and where: 2018-2020

Editorial Board: Michele Burford, Christopher Gobler.  Photos and other information will be gathered by networking with other people working in the area of cyanobacterial bloom management. The document will be reviewed by other experts in the field to ensure that the content is accurate, and captures the most current available.

The aim is to produce a short user-friendly document on strategies to mitigate blooms of cyanobacteria in freshwater lakes, reservoirs, ponds and rivers. The document will be used by water and environmental managers to help them determine what options are available for acute bloom events. There are many peer-reviewed scientific publications and other documents, but it has not been synthesized into a concise, targeted document summarizing all the information. We believe this information will be useful globally, as many of the same issues face water and environmental managers worldwide. The document layout and approach will be modelled on the successful R.M. Kudela et al. 2015. Harmful Algal Blooms. A Scientific Summary for Policy Makers. IOC/UNESCO, Paris (IOC/INF-1320).


GlobalHAB theme sessions and engagement presentations 2018:

When and where: 2018 International Symposium: The Climate Change Effects on the World Oceans, 4-8 June, 2018, Washington D.C., USA,

Contact: Elisa Berdalet, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Kedong Yin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


When and where: 18th International ISSHA Conference on Harmful Algae, 21-26 October 2018, Nantes, France.

Contact: Elisa Berdalet


GlobalHAB Town Hall Meeting at ICHA17

When and where: Tuesday, 11 October 2016, Florianopolis, Brazi, 17th International ISSHA Conference on Harmful Algae
Conveners: Elisa Berdalet (Chair), on behalf of the GlobalHAB Scientific Steering Committee (SSC), Henrik Enevoldsen (IOC/UNESCO). 

The international HAB research community is invited to actively engage in GlobalHAB. Thus, the Town Hall was a fantastic opportunity to discuss the Scientific and Implementation Plan of the new programme, and to identify ways of dynamic participation.

The Town Hall meeting was aimed to:

  • Highlight the main pressing issues that face the international harmful algal bloom (HAB) science community, including e.g. toxin-related challenges, impacts of aquaculture on HAB occurrences, the potential climate change impacts on HABs occurrence in freshwater and marine ecosystems, etc.

  • Identify specific activities to address these topics.

  • Facilitate interactions among scientists interested in implementing GlobalHAB-related activities

  • Discuss science/stakeholder forums to assess the potential socio-economic impacts of HAB occurrences and to engage the medical community to improve human health protection.

  • Foster and develop links with existing international and regional initiatives that have HAB research among their priorities, fundamental for the implementation of GlobalHAB.