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Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Watch Water Quality Monitoring Network

Marine algae shapes the world we live in. It provides oxygen for us to breathe and food for all sizes of marine life. However, there are some types of algae that produce toxins that, when consumed in large numbers, can impact marine life and people. When a harmful species of algae grows out of control, it is called a harmful algal bloom (or HAB).

Collage of three photos showing various people working

A network of scientists and educators was formed in order to increase the number of eyes on the ocean for early detection and rapid response to harmful algal blooms (HABs) through the volunteer harmful algal bloom monitoring network called HABWatch. Aquarium of the Pacific community scientist volunteers identify and record observations of plankton abundance in Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor as part of the HABWatch network in the Southern California Bight.

“These types of partnerships provide multiple benefits,” says USC Sea Grant’s Education Programs Manager Linda Chilton. “It’s an opportunity to build an understanding of scientists, their work, and how that connects with the community.”

HABwatch was formed in 2011 with support from USC Sea Grant, the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) West, and the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System. This project was funded by the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System with support from USC Sea Grant and COSEE West. 

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