Global Harmful Algal Blooms

PROJECT TITLE: AZTI - EEAcademy Summer School 2019: Does Human Health and Wellbeing depend on a Healthy Ocean?


Scope: Global

Type: Capacity development and networking

Timeframe: 5th to 7th June 2019

Principal Investigator: Angel Borja PhD                                                                                                                  
Address: AZTI Foundation, Herrera Kaia, Portualdea s/n, 20110 Pasaia (Spain)
Tel/Fax: +34 667174430
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Home page URL: www.azti.esand

Other key persons (name, title and institution):

Dr. Lora E Fleming, Professor, Chair, Director of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health

University of Exeter Medical School; c/o Knowledge Spa RCHT; Truro Cornwall TR1 3HD

Tel +44(0)1872242595; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


AZTI organizes annually (since 2004) an international ‘Summer School’ on marine research related cutting-edge topics, always trying to bridge the gap between research and policy. The course is taught by about 5-12 professors and attended by around 60-90 students from 15-20 countries. Some years we have organized the school back to back with European projects, such as DEVOTES, MARS, as well as other organizations (e.g. Euromarine), and, since 2017 with the EEAcademy. For next year 2019 the school is organized by AZTI and the EEAcademy, with the support of the European H2020 funded Projects,  “Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe” (SOPHIE) Project ( and BlueHealth (; the University of Girona Chair in Oceans and Human Health (; Global HAB (; and Submon( and Travelecoology( [an NGO and ecotourism think-tank, respectively, promoting marine ecotourismand citizen science in support of Ocean literacy and marine conservation in Europe].

For 2019, coinciding with the 16thanniversary of the courses, the topic proposed is “Does Human Health and Wellbeing depend a Healthy Ocean?” This course will build on, and go beyond, the 2018 course focused on Blue Growth and the European Marine Board 2018 Position Paper on “Linking Oceans and Human Health: A Strategic Research Priority for Europe.”  We will examine the exposures and pathways through which humans interact with the seas and global ocean, leading to both risks and benefits to human health and wellbeing as well as for the “health” of the marine environment. 

The attendees will acquire knowledge in the new meta-discipline of Oceans and Human Health research growing on both sides of the Atlantic, in particular focusing on the current and future impacts for the seas and coasts of Europe. This summer school will benefit from the inter/transdisciplinary integration of different sciences (e.g. marine biology, toxicology, microbiology, public health, psychology, medicine) necessary to understand the complex interactions between the “health” of the oceans and human health and wellbeing. This course will explore this through different topics, particularly emphasizing communication, engagement and co-creation with diverse stakeholder communities (including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)).  There will also be an opportunity to contribute as Stakeholders to the development of the future H2020 SOPHIE Strategic Research Agenda on Oceans and Human Health for Europe. The main objective of the school is to give an overview on the challenges, tensions and opportunities presented by the growing understanding that humans can both benefit from, and be impacted by, the coasts, seas and global oceans, and vice versa.

As an outcome of this course (in addition to the presentations, which will be freely available after the school), the professors participating in the course will prepare an open access position paper on this topic, to be submitted to a broad scope scientific journal (e.g. PlosOne, Frontiers in Marine Science, etc.). This will be a cross-cutting review. This position paper will have an impact on another key audience, i.e. research funders, marine policy makers, and managers. In addition to such impact, it is expected that students participating in this summer school will implement the knowledge gained through this summer school in their professional careers. 

The proposed structure and contents, open to suggestions from the EEA, will be:

First Day: Oceans and Human Health: the Risks 

  • Morning:
    • Introduction to the course(Angel Borja, AZTI, Spain)
    • Overview of Oceans and Human Health: Risks, Benefits and Opportunities(Lora Fleming, University of Exeter/SOPHIE, UK/USA)
    • Harmful Algal Blooms: a long natural history of links with human health and wellbeing(Elisa Berdalet, Institute of Marine Sciences, Spain/ GlobalHAB programme, SCOR and IOC/UNESCO) 
    • Microbial Pollution, Pharmaceuticals, Antimicrobial Resistance, and Surfers(Anne Leonard, University of Exeter, UK)
    • From Plastic Pollution to Fisheries and Tourism Development(Sabine Pahl, Plymouth University/SOPHIE, UK)
  • Afternoon: Oceans and Human Health Stakeholder Activities (Claire Eatock, Lizard Adventure SME/SOPHIE, UK)/Local relevant activity organized by AZTI

Second Day: Oceans and Human Health: the Benefits and Opportunities

  • Morning:
    • The European Bathing Water Directive(Stéphane Isoard, EEA, Denmark) 
    • Beyond the Blue Gym: Human Health and Wellbeing(Mat White, University of Exeter/SOPHIE/BlueHealth, UK)
    • Blue Tourism, Citizen Science, engaging for the future(Julia Vera Prieto and Mariluz Parga, Submon/Travelecoology /SOPHIE, Spain)
  • Afternoon: presentation of posters from attendees and general discussion

Third Day: Oceans and Human Health: the Future 

  • Morning:
    • Future directions in Oceans and Human Health: your expert input needed(Paula Kellet, European Marine Board/SOPHIE, Belgium)
    • Funding and other opportunities in Oceans and Human Health(Jackie Wood, JPI Oceans/SOPHIE)
    • Oceans and Human Health Chair: a Model of MPA-Town-University-Community Collaboration(Josep Lloret, University of Girona/SOPHIE, Spain)
    • Closure

Implementation progress (date): 

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