NOAA HAB Liaison Project

PI: Dr. Sherry Larkin, Florida Sea Grant

Recap: A NOAA Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) liaison is working to improve end-user decision making through coordination, integration, and transference of HAB forecasting knowledge and tools generated by NOAA.

Relevance: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) have been reported to occur in the surface waters of all 50 U.S. states and are increasing globally. HABs occur when photosynthetic algae that live in fresh, brackish or marine waters grow out of control (i.e., “bloom”) and have adverse effects on people or ecosystems. These HABs can result in significant socioeconomic impacts due to shellfish closures, wild or farmed fish mortalities, human health impacts, lost coastal recreation and tourism, reduced waterfront property values, and consumers who avoid consuming seafood. Early detection can mitigate some of the harmful effects of HABs, thus reducing associated socioeconomic impacts.

Response:  The nationally-funded NOAA HAB Liaison project created a partnership position between Sea Grant and the federal agency NOAA. The NOAA HAB Liaison is developing collaborations with partners and stakeholders across the national Sea Grant network to support planning, research and technological solutions to address HAB issues, ensure coastal communities have access to and use sound science, data, tools, and the training to be effective in planning and decision-making relative to HABs.

The overall project is being managed through both an advisory committee and points of contact that together will help develop a new HAB Community of Practice (CoP). Ultimately, CoP members will learn about and be trained on tools and products of the federal partners and they will subsequently share these tools with their community partners.

Supplemental Information: Project Implementation Plan

Sea Grant Week Presentation: NOAA HAB Update

HAB Science: Sea Grant Tip Sheet

About The NOAA HAB Liaison

Betty Staugler
Housed within Florida Sea Grant, Staugler forges and enhances partnerships by providing expertise, research, and extension services that leverage partners’ work to efficiently meet the needs of coastal and Great Lakes communities threatened by harmful algal blooms (HAB). This includes seeking new ways to extend NOAA HAB products and services, while also informing NCCOS, CoastWatch, and IOOS on Sea Grant stakeholder needs andresearch priorities.



  • Dr. Rick Stumpf, NCCOS
  • Dr. Veronica Lance, NOAA CoastWatch
  • Chris Petrone, Sea Grant

Participating Program Directors (AC):

  • Dr. Sherry Larkin, Florida Sea Grant
  • Dr. Fredrika Moser, Maryland Sea Grant
  • Dr. LaDon Swan, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant
  • Dr. Rebecca Shuford, New York Sea Grant
  • Dr. Chris Winslow, Ohio Sea Grant
  • Dr. Pamela Plotkin, Texas Sea Grant
  • Katie Litle , Washington Sea Grant
  • Dr. Julie Lively, Louisiana Sea Grant
  • Dr. Silvia Newell, Michigan Sea Grant

Participating Programs (AC):

  • TBD, Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS)
  • Dr. Barb Kirkpatrick, Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS)
  • Dr. Gerhard Kuska, Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS)
  • Dr. Jan Newton, Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS)
  • Dr. Clarissa Anderson, Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS)
  • Debra Hernandez, Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA)

PROJECT LEAD: Florida Sea Grant

PROJECT PARTNERS: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), NOAA CoastWatch, Integrated Ocean Observing Systems (IOOS)

The NOAA HAB Liaison position and associated project benefit from an advisory committee comprised of participating programs and partners that meets annually to provide input on project end-user needs, program development and guidance/feedback.

Year 2 - Highlights


Applying Novel Techniques To Assess and Forecast HABs in Chesapeake Bay To Protect Fisheries, Aquaculture and Human Health

On January 18 and 19, 2023, Sea Grant organized a workshop on Applying novel techniques to assess and forecast HABs in Chesapeake Bay to protect fisheries, aquaculture and human health at Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), in Gloucester Point, Virginia. The workshop sought to assess Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom (CyanoHABs) forecasting opportunities & limitations at scales needed for resource management & industry business practices, and brought together agency, industry, and academic experts to discuss this topic. The workshop was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, along with Maryland Sea Grant and Florida Sea Grant.

Forty-one participants from state agencies, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, extension, aquaculture, charter boat operators, and the recreational fishing community attended the workshop, allowing for a diverse and comprehensive assessment of forecasting needs and opportunities. The objectives of the workshop were as follows:

  • To understand how HABs affect the operations of aquaculture, recreational fishing & other water dependent users.
  • To understand the HAB spatial information & forecasting needs of resource managers (and areas of synergy w/ researchers).
  • To learn about potential forecast data products & how output could be used (capabilities & limitations).
  • To compile information on potential uses of (satellite imagery & forecasting) tools and products.
  • To assess current monitoring and observing efforts that could lead to the development of a forecast and identify gaps.


Workshop Summary Report:

Year 1 - Highlights





Creative Works
(Publications, presenTations, etc.)




(Publications, grants)




FL-HABON Steering


(201 individial contacts + 703 presentation attendees)