Dynamics, Variability and Patterns of Harmful and Red Tide Bloom-Species in Narragansett Bay: Ecological Analysis of a 38-Year Time Series

EPA Grant Number: R829368
Title: Dynamics, Variability and Patterns of Harmful and Red Tide Bloom-Species in Narragansett Bay: Ecological Analysis of a 38-Year Time Series
Investigators: Smayda, Theodore J. , Borkman, David G. , Li, Yaqin
Current Investigators: Smayda, Theodore J. , Borkman, David G.
Institution: University of Rhode Island
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: September 28, 2001 through January 27, 2006 (Extended to September 30, 2006)
Project Amount: $348,912
RFA: Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Aquatic Ecosystems , Water Quality , Water , Ecosystems


This project is directed towards filling fundamental knowledge gaps in the ecology of harmful algal blooms and red tides. The biological data of the 18 species to be evaluated and accompanying physical and chemical data in the 38-year Narragansett Bay Time Series (NBTS) to be used in this project will be made website accessible.

The goals of the project are: a) to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the selection and bloom cycles of 18 indigenous, cosmopolitan, and representative HAB and benign red tide taxa in Narragansett Bay; b) to describe the long-term patterns, trends and variability in their blooms; c) to quantify the effects and interactions of meteorological, climatic, physical, chemical and biological parameters in this variability; d) to apply and evaluate the "open niche" hypothesis as a general HAB paradigm; e) to develop a website and dedicated server making the time series data electronically available to the scientific community as well as local and state agencies.


Thirty-eight-year quantitative, process-oriented, time series based on weekly measurements of plankton - habitat variables in combination with autecological and field population approaches will be analyzed. Four different climatic indices will quantify the importance of climate in regulating HABs and benign red tides relative to habitat variability in physical, chemical and biological parameters. The hypothesis that the selection, succession and blooms of HAB and red tide taxa are under both multifactorial and species-specific control, and involve at least four different regulatory mechanisms, will be evaluated. The data management system and website to be developed will be based on an Excel and multiplatform relational database software allowing electronic/website access.

Expected Results:

The published results will enhance HAB bloom research and objectives of the ECOHAB program, aide in the development of bloom control strategies, and contribute towards better understanding of climate change effects on harmful blooms. The electronic and website availability of the NBTS data bank on the 18 bloom species and accompanying environmental conditions will allow others in the scientific community and federal agencies to interrogate the time series posing new questions and applying new techniques in the future.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 35 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

coastal ecosystems; HAB ecology, prevention, mitigation; Ecosystem protection; Multidecadal time series; time series website access., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, estuarine research, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Oceanography, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystem, algal blooms, computing technology, Biology, Atmosphere, East Coast, ecological exposure, environmental monitoring, red tides, Narragansett Bay Time Series (NBTS), harmful algal blooms, marine biology, HAB ecology, coastal environments, data management, ECOHAB, World Wide Web, red tide bloom, Narragansett Bay

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006
  • Final Report