Behaving Drifters as Gymnodinium breve Mimics

EPA Grant Number: R829370
Title: Behaving Drifters as Gymnodinium breve Mimics
Investigators: Kamykowski, Daniel , Janowitz, Gerald S. , Wolcott, Thomas G.
Institution: North Carolina State University
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: November 19, 2001 through November 18, 2004 (Extended to May 18, 2006)
Project Amount: $423,493
RFA: Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Aquatic Ecosystems , Water Quality , Water , Ecosystems


This project seeks to characterize Gymnodinium breve chemotaxis, to examine how any detected capability influences behavior in laboratory mesocosms, and to incorporate the detected capabilities into an existing G. breve behavioral submodel. The upgraded behavioral submodel will be used to program G. breve Population Mimics (GBPMs) capable of monitoring several environmental variables that will be released in natural water columns. The GBPM will be used to examine how behavior physically and physiologically contributes to G. breve aggregations under natural environmental forcing. The analyses will be based on the data collected with the GBPM using the interpretive power of evolving physical-biological models.


The laboratory based studies will use published protocols applied to different G. breve clones. Chemotaxis subroutines will be appropriately enhanced in the existing behavioral submodel. The GBPMs then will be programmed to migrate in natural water columns off the west Florida shelf based on geotaxis, phototaxis and chemotaxis. After characterizing the GBPM as Lagrangian drifters, subsequent GBPM deployments in G. breve patches will include periodic measurements of vertical environmental conditions (temperature, salinity, light intensity, nutrients and chlorophyll) and water motion, some of these by the GBPM itself and all of these by periodic water column profiles in the vicinity of the GBPM. The transport and environmental exposure of the GBPM will be analyzed in association with multiple runs of physical-biological models that incorporate the same behavioral submodel as the GBPM.

Expected Results:

Predicting when and where G. breve contributes to HABs presently is compromised by the limited information on how transport mechanisms that vary with depth act on cells that use their motility to position in the vertical water column in support of cell growth. The proposed laboratory, field and modeling work will use behavior as represented by the GBPM in natural current regimes to support better predictions of G. breve events.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 36 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 6 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

marine, ecology, environmental chemistry, physics, organism, measurement methods, modeling, Southeast., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, Oceanography, algal blooms, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Biology, brevetoxins, Gymnodinium breve toxins, ECOHAB, G. breve Population Mimics (GBPMs), G. breve red tides

Progress and Final Reports:

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