Training the next generation.


The theme of this year's 9th US Symposium on Harmful Algae will reflect the shift in the current climate in the field. Harmful algae and its environmental effects are becoming better understood by scientists, and this meeting will hopefully serve as a means to usher in new ideas and ways of researching and treating harmful algae that will be embraced by the next generation of researchers in the field.

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We encourage everyone who works on harmful algae issues to attend the only national conference focused exclusively on HABs. Whether your focus is freshwater or marine systems, microalgae or macroalgae, basic research and monitoring, or policy and management there will be opportunities for you to learn and discuss all facets of HAB studies. Students, established HAB folks, managers and scientists from NGOs, academic institutions, and local, state and federal agencies are invited to join us in Baltimore. Sign up for workshops preceding the meeting that will provide hands-on training opportunities in the identification of HAB species using microscopy, toxin detection techniques, molecular algal species and toxin identification, and the latest analytical tools used in HAB science.



Welcome to Baltimore and the 9th US HAB Conference! Much has changed since the 8th US HAB Conference, both in Baltimore and around the world, and never has the importance of HAB research been greater than it is today.

The theme for the 9th US HAB Conference is “Training The Next Generation.” Harmful algae and its environmental effects are becoming better understood by scientists. This meeting will hopefully serve as a means to usher in new ideas and ways of researching and treating
harmful algae that will be embraced by the next generation of researchers in the field.

We are thrilled with the quality and diversity of the program for the 9th US HAB Conference. Delegates will be able to experience work that is at the forefront of what is being done nationally. The 9th US HAB Conference features speakers and attendees from all over the United States, and spans a wide variety of topics such as HABs and drinking water, mitigation, toxin standards, and remote sensing. If it wasn’t for the support of our sponsors and other local organizations, this conference would not have been possible. Everyone is encouraged to find out more about sponsors and partner organizations, all of whom are listed in the program. We would like to truly thank everyone involved in allowing such a terrific conference to come together.

In addition to the outstanding scientific program, the 9th US HAB Conference provides us with an opportunity to catch up socially with friends and colleagues from around the world. On behalf of the Local Organizing Committee and everyone else responsible for planning the 9th US HAB Conference we wish you a very successful and enjoyable conference. We thank you for attending and welcome you to Baltimore for what should be an exciting week!


Best Wishes,

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Allen R. Place
Conference Organizer


Dear Colleagues,

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.


Barbara Kirkpatrick
NHC Co-chair


Raphael Kudela
NHC Co-chair

Areas covered at the symposium.


At the 9th US Symposium on Harmful Algae, we hope to provide a comprehensive look at harmful algae and its impacts on the US marine environment. The highlighted topics below will comprise some of the foundations of the symposium. If you feel that there is an important topic area that is not being represented, please let us know in our contact section. 



HAB Ecology 


Environmental conditions influence the physiological state of HAB species, affecting their competitiveness in natural assemblages of phytoplankton, susceptibility to grazers and parasites, and their production of toxins. Studies of HAB physiology, from genes and gene function through community interactions, will be addressed in this session. Presentations may focus on cultured HAB species or natural communities of freshwater, brackish or marine ecosystems.

Emerging Technologies


The symposium will highlight new developments in instrumentation, emerging technologies, and autonomous platforms that can be used to monitor and detect HABs in the context of observing programs (such as, but not limited to, IOOS and GLEON). Presentations that discuss new and emerging methodologies that cover all aspects of freshwater and marine HABs are welcomed.


Fish Kills

harmful algal blooms resulting in fish kills

Studies investigating the toxicity and pathogenicity of freshwater and marine bioactive compounds on human and animal health will be highlighted.

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HAB Modeling


The symposium will include freshwater, brackish and marine HAB modeling, including prediction, forecasting, operational forecasting systems, and hindcasting. Tools and products that support management and mitigation decisions will also be discussed.



The 9th US Symposium on Harmful Algae took place at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, MD.


Who will host the 10th US HAB?

The National HAB Committee (NHC) has reviewed letters of intent (LOIs) to host the Tenth Symposium on Harmful Algae, to be held in 2019. Following a vote at the Ninth US HAB symposium this fall, Orange Beach, AL has been chosen as the location of the next US HAB Symposium. Any questions should be sent to Mindy Richlen (


The Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) is currently accepting preliminary applications from developers and manufacturers of sensors and test kits for the detection of harmful algal toxins to participate in independent performance testing. This demonstration is complementary to an ongoing ACT Technology Evaluation conducted on fluorescence-based instruments designed to characterize phytoplankton abundance and taxonomic composition and aligns with our current theme on technologies for the detection of harmful algae and their toxins. Over the last decade, a large number of new test approaches have been developed, including but not limited to immunoassay and molecular methods. However, an independent evaluation of assay types, relative to standard methods, is currently a barrier to use for many stakeholders. Sensors and field-portable/-deployable assays quantifying toxins of interest (including but not limited to domoic acid, saxitoxins, and microcystins) will be prioritized. Testing will be conducted under controlled laboratory conditions, as well as under diverse field conditions. Like all ACT Technology Evaluations, participation in this effort will be voluntary and free of charge for qualifying applicants, and results will be made available to the public in individual summary reports.

Please visit the ACT web site at for detailed information on the Algal Toxin Detection Field Sensors and Kits Demonstration (including deadlines) and  to download application forms.  More information can also be obtained by contacting Dr. Mario Tamburri ( and Dr. Tom Johengen (