Binational collaboration to study Gulf of Mexico's harmful algae



Blooms of the toxic marine dinoflagellate Karenia brevis cause massive fish kills and other public health and economic problems in coastal waters throughout the Gulf of Mexico [Steidinger, 2009]. These harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a gulf-wide problem that require a synoptic observing system for better serving decision-making needs. The major nutrient sources that initiate and maintain these HABs and the possible connectivity of blooms in different locations are important questions being addressed through new collaborations between Mexican and U.S. researchers and government institutions. These efforts were originally organized under the U.S./Mexico binational partnership for the HABs Observing System (HABSOS), led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Gulf of Mexico Program (EPAGMP) and several agencies in Veracruz, Mexico, since 2006. In 2010 these efforts were expanded to include other Mexican states and institutions with the integrated assessment and management of the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem (GoMLME) program sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).