WELCOME FROM THE NATIONAL HAB COMMITTEE
The National HAB Committee (NHC) is pleased to welcome you to the 9th Symposium on Harmful Algae in the United States. This Symposium was first held in Woods Hole, MA in 2000, and brought together a group of scientists and managers engaged in HAB research in marine systems to discuss ongoing and emergent issues. Since then, the Symposium has expanded to include HABs in freshwater systems, as well as a greater diversity of research topics and themes. The locations selected for the Symposium also better reflect the widespread distribution of HAB problems in the U.S. After switching between East and West coast venues for several years, the Symposium was held in Texas in 2011, and Florida’s Gulf coast in 2013, and at this year’s meeting we will vote between proposed venues in Alabama and Ohio. Attendance regularly exceeds 200, and this year’s meeting is expected to draw over 230 participants.
Participation in the Symposium has also expanded over time to include increasing numbers of managers involved in monitoring HAB taxa and toxins, as well as increased participation by students and early career scientists. Since its inception, student engagement and involvement in the Symposium has been a priority, promoted through the establishment of travel awards for student attendees, which are coordinated by the NHC and sponsored by the U.S. National Office for Harmful Algal Blooms. The importance of student participation is reflected in the theme of this year’s Symposium “Training the next generation”, which further expands the impact of this meeting through technical workshops geared for students and early career scientists, managers, and technicians. These workshops address a core national infrastructure need for expertise in HAB detection and identification, and will help the next generation of scientists expand their technical skills and explore innovative approaches to HAB research. Student participation is also fostered through networking opportunities provided during poster sessions and social events, and through the Young Investigators meeting, which brings together small, interactive groups of established scientists and students.
It has been rewarding to see this conference evolve into a vital community forum that serves to advance ongoing HAB research in marine and freshwater systems. On the behalf of the NHC, we thank Dr. Allen Place and the national and local organizing committees for developing an excellent technical program that includes topics ranging from physiological ecology to emerging technologies and instrumentation. We look forward to what promises to be an outstanding Symposium, and to interacting with friends and colleagues who have contributed to the significant progress made in understanding and preventing HAB impacts.