The “Killer Algae” Challenge
Challenge: To develop an AI-based prognosis tool to predict where, when and how Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) will form in the context of aquaculture and tourism
Ana Tronholm, PhD Marine biologist, Researcher email@example.com
Markus Lindh, PhD Marine biologist firstname.lastname@example.org
Harmful algal blooms, or “HABs”, are phytoplankton species that can produce toxins hazardous to human and ecosystem health, or in other ways harm marine organisms or disturb the marine environment. Every year HABs have severe detrimental effects across the globe on aquaculture and the tourism sector. For example, in 2019, a single HAB-forming species killed millions of aquaculture salmon in Norway, corresponding to 40,000 metric tons of salmon and costing the industry well over 200 million Euros.
At Ocean Data Factory Sweden, we aim to develop an AI-based prognosis tool to predict where, when and how HABs will form in the context of aquaculture and tourism. The AI tool should predict HABs both short-term (days to weeks) and long-term (years to decades), given the climate change projections for Swedish waters. We propose two case studies to develop HABs prognosis models on a subset of data and specific species of microalgae in: (1) the aquaculture industry on the Swedish west coast (the Skagerrak Sea) and (2) the tourism sector in the Baltic Sea. Extensive ocean data for essential variables related to HABs, such as nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations, satellite data of bloom formations, weather, sunlight, temperature and chlorophyll concentrations, are available in databases open to the public.
With both a general project aim and by looking into specific case studies, ODF Sweden is answering the needs of several different end users and stakeholders. These include the Swedish Food Agency, the Swedish Agricultural Board, local mussel farmers and the tourism sector. ODF Sweden is already in contact with these stakeholders and end users, and together we are forming a network to specify the exact needs for a HAB prognosis tool. The work in this project will cover the whole chain, from research and development to product innovation and marine management in the digital blue economy, through the use of ocean data.
Ana Tronholm, PhD
Marine biologist, Researcher
Markus Lindh, PhD