Chile is the fourth largest producer of mussels in the world and the health of the mussels is of paramount importance to the economy. Leading environmental consultants Plancton Andino SpA (Chile) are using a CTG FastAct Laboratory FRRf System to monitor red tides as part of the Bivalve Molluscs Health Program.
These “red tides” or Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are natural events occurring around the world. Since first being reported in Chile in 1972, in the Strait of Magellan these HAB have increased in both frequency and geographic coverage.
Because HABs are highly toxic, they have come to create a serious problem for human health and the local economy. HABs are caused by the cell division of certain toxic microalgae, which are regular constituents of the planktonic microflora found in aquatic ecosystems. Their harmful effects can be caused by the presence of toxins, as occurs with the dinoflagellates responsible for Paralytic Shellfish Poison and lipophilic toxins and the diatoms responsible for Amnesic Shellfish Poison. Some of the marine organisms that filter microalgae such as bivalve shellfish concentrate these toxins. Consumption of these organisms may seriously harm human health and may even be lethal.
The CTG FastOcean sensor can be used for profiling through the entire photic zone or combined with a FastAct or Act2 laboratory system for rapid assessment of samples. The Single Turnover (ST) method incorporated within FastOcean provides extremely reliable biomass and photo-physiological data, even at very low biomass and/or with fast flowing water. This combination of features allows for the tracking of HABs through onset, peak and post phases on much wider spatiotemporal scales than competing technologies.