Understanding climate change drivers on phytoplankton species distribution and abundance (including HAB species) in the future is crucial in predicting potential effects on the sustainability of shellfish aquaculture producing areas producing healthy and sustainable shellfish. Offshore in-situ remote sensing instruments which display phytoplankton images and identify to species level which are displayed in realtime will be deployed to better understand the impacts of climate change on phytoplankton species diversity and distribution.
HABs and plankton are specific case studies (no.s 6 & 10) as detailed in the DAFM documents on Seafood Sector Adaptation plan and Implementing Priority Steps to Building Climate Change Resilience for the Seafood Sector which states, ‘Long-term commitment to monitoring remains crucial to our ability to collect scientifically sound, long-term datasets essential to monitoring and detecting the environmental and climate impacts of HABs on the fish and shellfish sectors. By extending HAB monitoring to offshore waters and adopting new technologies to monitor HABs in Irish waters, Ireland will be better prepared to report on new HAB toxins as they arise.’
HAB events are driven by a number of oceanographic, meteorological and environmental parameters. This project will procure appropriate and sensitive equipment/instrumentation to be deployed aboard MI Research Vessels and additionally the phytoplankton laboratories which will validate the offshore instrument by identifying to species level and discriminate between non-toxic and toxic producing strains.
Specifically, the project will improve national capability to:
- Collect novel datasets, vital in understanding the impacts of climate change drivers on phytoplankton species diversity and distribution.
- Predicting potential effects on the sustainability of shellfish aquaculture producing areas producing healthy and sustainable shellfish.
- Using novel offshore remote sensing in-situ instruments, validated by molecular laboratory instruments will relay information in real-time on offshore HAB species and events.
- Environmental Data Monitoring will be available in real time and publicly accessible and available for viewing and downloading.
Improved national capability as follows:
- Novel datasets available detailing offshore phytoplankton species and distribution throughout the year.
- Real time data from environmental monitoring will be publicly available and accessible to stakeholders.
- Direct dataset contribution to the HABs bulletin predictive forecasting tool to increase reliability and accuracy in predictions.
- Will be linked to the European network of multiple IFCB’s in the Atlantic Northeast Area Arc.