CHANS : the characteristics of cost-effective policy responses for harmful algal blooms [poster] Conference Poster uri icon


  • A growing concern for coastal management is the choice of appropriate public or private responses to HABs as a natural hazard. Considerable efforts have been devoted to understanding the scientific aspects of HABs, including their distributions in space and time, their ecological roles, and the nature of their toxic effects, among others. Much energy also has been directed at exploring socio-economic impacts and identifying potential management actions, including actions to prevent, control, or mitigate blooms. Using blooms of Florida red tide (Karenia brevis) as a case study, we develop an approach to the choice of policy responses to K. brevis blooms. Importantly, several new types of public health, environmental, and socio-economic impacts now are beginning to be revealed, including human gastrointestinal and potential neurological illnesses; morbidities and mortalities of protected species, including manatees, cetaceans, and sea turtles; increased numbers of hospital emergency room visits for the elderly; increased respiratory morbidities in workers, such as beach lifeguards; and potential reduced K- 12 school attendance. Optimal policy responses to this hazard are likely to depend critically upon why and where a bloom occurs, its spatial and temporal scales and toxicity, and the nature of its impacts. In the face of significant ongoing scientific uncertainties, and given estimates of impacts, we find that policies to expand and stabilize scientific research programs and environmental monitoring efforts, to develop and implement education programs for both residents and tourists, and to communicate the physical aspects of blooms to the public in a timely fashion are likely optimal.

publication date

  • November 11, 2015