Ambassadors marine scientific research aboard RV Simon Stevin

ZeeambGhEnToxLab-member, Maarten De Rijcke, has joined the expert group of ambassadors of sea research. These ambassadors communicate regularly the on the marine scientific research that's being conducted aboard the RV Simon Stevin. Using social media, the Flanders Marine Institute aims to improve the accessibility of marine research to the general public.GhEnToxLab supports this initiative full-heartedly. Today, our research on harmful algal blooms was featured on the facebook page of the RV Simon Stevin (dutch).

Harmful algae are becoming more abundant across the globe. Under the right conditions, these microscopic algae can rapidly increase in density ("bloom"). They can consume all the dissolved oxygen, damage gill tissues and/or produce potent marine toxins, which leads to mass mortality of marine organisms. Beyond the significant ecological and economical damage, they may also endanger human health. Yet, despite of the threat, we're oblivious to the diversity of harmful algae that occur in the Belgian Part of the North Sea. As part of our new research field, "Linking Oceans and Human Health", we strive gather more knowledge on these HABs in the North sea. Luckily, the RV Simon Stevin was recently fitted with a FlowCytometer that measures phytoplankton semi-continuously. Based on the fluorescent and optical properties of each cell, we'll be able to distinguish species and species groups of interest. After a few more days of tweaking, we'll soon be able to learn more about the occurrence of these fascinating algae.