Monitoring the occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in coastal waters of India and Sri Lanka: Implications for sardine habitats and future aquaculture (2012-2017)

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and their related consequences on fisheries and human health are a global concern. This alerts maritime countries to adopt regular monitoring programmes in their territorial waters. Here we propose to monitor coastal waters of India and Sri Lanka for HABs and related environmental properties. Biological and chemical methods were adopted for taxonomic and toxin characterization of HAB species, respectively. Remote sensing and mathematical modelling approaches were also used to aid further understanding of HAB dynamics at larger scale. Efforts were also made to understand the influence of non-harmful algal blooms in the habitat of the oil sardine (Sardinella longiceps).

Participating countries

– India  – Sri Lanka

General objectives

  • To monitor Indian and Sri Lanka coastal water quality, circulation parameters, HAB dynamics and its toxin characterization;
  • To generate baseline data on HAB dynamics and toxins present in the study sites; and, if possible, establish a HAB culture collection centre;
  • To improve our understanding of the physiology and biology of harmful algal species by (1) analyzing dinoflagellates community structure with referenceto HAB species and dissolved phytotoxins, (2) determining the relationship between toxic species cell numbers and toxin level or concentration;(3) evaluating the incidence of past blooms through the analysis of dinoflagellate cysts in sediment samples
  • To examine the water quality and circulation parameters to (1) assess the impact of aquaculture on HAB initiation, (2)evaluate the influence of non-harmful algal blooms in the habitat of the oil sardines (Sardinella longiceps); and (3) predict the suitability of a location for the setting up of cage aquaculture;
  • Use of remote sensing and bio‐optical properties to (1) understand HABs, and (2) discriminate diatoms from non-diatoms;
  • To build awareness and literacy about Marine Science to thecoastal communities in Indian states and Sri Lanka through outreach activities.

General achievements

  • Ocean colour, numerical modelling approaches and in situ sampling during the period 2012-2017 characterized the incidence of non-harmful phytoplankton blooms and HABs along the coastal watersof India and Sri Lanka;
  • International Training workshop entitled Basic sampling protocols for Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) studies: taxonomy and toxinwas held at CMFRI, Mandapam (India) from 12th to 15th May 2015 to provide a comprehensive training in sample collection and handling protocols, isolation, identification and extraction of toxins, as well as pigment analysis. Construction of  a Time series of SPATT bag sample collection on a monthly basis at selected stations along the East and West Coasts of India and off Sri Lanka;
  • Developed an in situ database for validation of Ocean Colour data generated for the coastal waters and development of regional bio-optical algorithm for case 2 waters in the SW coast of India;
  • Creation of a bio-optical spectral library using pure cultures of phytoplankton species and analysis of their absorption spectra.
    • P. rathymum, a lesser known, potentially toxic, bloom-forming species was isolated for the first time from coastal eastern Arabian Sea;
    • First report on growth rates and pigment characteristics of Heterosigma akashiwo, isolated from coastal waters of Goa;
  • Study of the inter-annual variation in non-harmful algal species in the diet of sardines, a culturally and economically important exploited species in India.
  • Several MSc students dissertations at Goa University and St Teresa’s College joined tasks within the project;
  • Along with the scientific work, outreach programmes were carried out by all members;

Scientific outputs

  • Chithra Chandran, Nashad. M, Vishnu P. S., Nandini Menon. N (2015)- Bloom of Fragilariopsis in the coastal waters off Cochin, Kerala, South west coast of India – Presented at World Ocean Science Congress, Kochi from 5-8 February 2015.
  • M, Nandini Menon, Grinson George, Chitra Chandran (2015)– Significance of HABs in marine ecosystem health. Paper presented at the National Seminar on Marine Ecosystem Health, March 2015 at CUSAT, Cochin.
  • Vishnu P.S., Shaju S.S. , Nashad M, Nandini Menon, Mohamed Hatha, Ajith Joseph C., Mini Raman (2016)- Study of light absorption coefficient of phytoplankton and other optically active components in the coastal waters off Cochin. –  Poster presentation at International conference “Towards a sustainable Blue Economy” in Kochi from 4-6 February 2016
  • D’Coasta, P.M., D’Silva, M.S. and Naik, R. K. (2016), Impact of pollution on phytoplankton and implications for marine econiches. In: MarinePollution and Microbial Remediation (M.M. Naik and S.K. Dubey, Eds.)
  • Alienor C. C. Vaz, Velitta Silveira, Priya M. D’Costa (2017)Protein estimation using Folin assay from whole cell, culture filtrate and cell extracts of diatom cultures, at National Seminar on ‘Biopolymers andBiosensors: What’s New, What’s Next?’ organized by the Department of Microbiology, P.E.S’s R.S.N. College of Arts and Science, Farmagudi, Ponda – Goa on 25th February 2017.
  • Alienor C. C. Vaz, Venicia Fernandes, Priya M. D’Costa (2017), Protein content in selected phytoplankton species: comparison between active and decomposition phases of growth, at National Seminar onAdvances in Sustainable Biotechnology, organized by Department of Biotechnology, St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa – Goa during 27-28 January, 2017.
  • Grinson George, Muhammad Shafeeque, Nandini Menon, Shubha Sathyendranath and Trevor
  • (2017). Inter-annual variability in Sardinella longiceps in response to ENSO event in the coastal waters of India. Presented at the International Symposium on Drivers ofDynamics of Small Pelagic Fish Resources, Victoria, BC, Canada from 6-11, March 2017
  • Jobin Clement, Priya M. D’Costa (2017), Diversity of phytoplankton in a rocky, intertidal environment along thewest coast of India, at National Seminar on ‘Biopolymers and Biosensors: What’s New, What’sNext?’ organized by the Department of Microbiology, P.E.S’s R.S.N. College of Arts and Science, Farmagudi, Ponda – Goa on 25th February 2017.
  • Rukma S. S. Kunkolienkar, Arti G. Naik, Priya M. D’Costa, Studies on bacteria associated with the toxicdinoflagellate – Prorocentrumrhathymum, at National Seminar on Advances in SustainableBiotechnology, organized by Department of Biotechnology, St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa – Goaduring 27-28 January, 2017.
  • Sonvi D. Naik, Dipaswi H. Naik and Priya M. D’Costa, Exploring the sensitivity of raphidophytes tometals and organic pollutants, at National Seminar on Advances in Sustainable Biotechnology,organized by Department of Biotechnology, St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa – Goa during 27-28January, 2017.
  • SwetaNaik, Rima Desai, Priya M. D’Costa, Studies on the culturable bacteria associated with selecteddiatom monocultures, at National Seminar on Advances in Sustainable Biotechnology, organizedby Department of Biotechnology, St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa – Goa during 27-28 January, 2017.
  • VeniciaFernandes, AlienorVaz, Priya M. D’Costa, Preliminary studies on the lipid content of selected marine phytoplankton isolates, at National Seminar on Advances in Sustainable Biotechnology, organized by Department of Biotechnology, St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa – Goa during 27-28 January, 2017.
  • VeniciaFernandes, Priya M. D’Costa, Analysis of carbohydrates in dinoflagellate and raphidophytestrains isolated from the Eastern Arabian Sea, at National Seminar on ‘Biopolymers andBiosensors: What’s New, What’s Next?’ organized by the Department of Microbiology, P.E.S’sR.S.N. College of Arts and Science, Farmagudi, Ponda – Goa on 25th February 2017.
  • Nandini Menon N, SyamSankar, Smitha A, Grinson George, Shubha Sathyendranath andTrevor Platt. (2017). Application of phytoplankton biomass as an aid in management ofmarine resources of the southeastern Arabian Sea. Presented at the InternationalSymposium on Drivers of Dynamics of Small Pelagic Fish Resources at Victoria, BC,Canada from 6-11, March 2017
  • Nashad M, N. Nandini Menon, C. Ajith Joseph, Lasse. H. Pettersson and N. R. Menon (2017).First report of Leptocylindrus bloom in the coastal waters of Kerala (southeast ArabianSea). J. Mar. Biol. Ass. India, 59 (1), 1-6. doi: 10.6024/jmbai.2017.59.1.1937-00

Societal outputs

  • Seminar and poster exhibition, “Ocean is our Neighbour”, Matara, Sri Lanka, Oct – Nov 2015
  • Hands-on workshop on “Coastal Ocean Biodiversity” for 20 students Matara, Sri Lanka Nov 2015
  • Lecture ‘Climate change issues in the marine ecosystem’ presented in Kerala, India,
  • Invited lecture “Application of remote sensing in marine fisheries” at the International seminar on Coastal Biodiversity Assessment(COBIA 2017), Kerala, India, January, 2017
  • Lecture on ‘Phytoplankton with reference to HAB’ to students, Goa, India
  • Invited lecture “Major threats to our oceans” at the International seminaron Coastal Biodiversity Assessment (COBIA 2017), Kerala, India, January, 2017
  • Invited lecture “Ocean colour for climate change studies” at the International seminar on Coastal Biodiversity Assessment (COBIA 2017), Kerala, India, January, 2017
  • Lecture on “Ocean resources and services” to Higher secondary students, Kerala, India, February 2017

Project contributions to NANO News

NN2 – pp. 6

NN3 – pp.9

NN6 – pp.4

NN8 – pp. 18

NN10 – pp.10

NN11 – pp. 13

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Coordinators (period)

Ravidas K Naik (2012-2014)

Nandini Menon(2015-2017)

Advising Scientists

Dr. B. Meenakumari, Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority, India

Prof. Trevor Platt, PML, UK

Dr. Shubha Sathyendranath, PML, UK

Participants

PARTICIPANTAffiliationCountry
Aneesh LotlikerINCOISIndia
G.R.L. KodikaraUniv. of RuhunaSri Lanka
George GrinsonCMFRIIndia
Gunjan MotwaniSACIndia
H.B. AsanthiUniv. of RuhunaSri Lanka
H.B. JayasiriNARASri Lanka
K. R. DalpathaduNARASri Lanka
K.A.D.A.T HarishchandraNARASri Lanka
Kanthi YapaUniv. of RuhunaSri Lanka
Mini RamanSACIndia
Nandini MenonNERCIIndia
Priya D’CostaGoa UniversityIndia
Rajdeep RoyNIOIndia
Ravidas K NaikNCAORIndia
Rithin RajNERCIIndia
S.S. ShajuNERCIIndia
Samir DamareNIOIndia
Sanjiba BaliarsinghINCOISIndia
Sarat TripathyNCAOR
India
Satya PrakashINCOISIndia

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