Health impact and associated costs of harmful algal blooms in the Mediterranean basin.

Harmful algal blooming is an environmental problem impacting several of the world’s oceans and seas. The effects in aquaculture farming, for example, can put in danger the human health by exposure to biotoxins, via seafood consumption. However, not only humans are affected by this process, but also marine organisms, like fishes, invertebrates, and algae. The latest studies about this theme point out that the number of algal blooming events has risen in the Mediterranean, over the past decades, putting whole populations at risk. 

To assess this problem, this transdisciplinary project will be separated into three different axes:
1 - The Ecological/Ecosystemic axe: a gathering of available data on the algal blooms and the biotoxin contamination of marine resources. This will be performed with a literature review and consultation of international databases.
2 - The health axe: data collection on the impacts of algal biotoxins in public health (through e.g, the decrease in marine resources).
3- The economic axe: compilation of information on the economic effects on countries that suffered from algal blooms before, in other words, an assessment of the costs due to health effects caused by the contamination. This will be done using a local, regional, national, and international database. The knowledge of an international team of economists will also support this part of the study.

The effects of pollution and climate change will also be considered. The expected outcome is that by evaluating the health, environmental, and economical effects of the biotoxins in the Mediterranean basin, this project will be able to contribute to the development of sustainable resource management and conservation of the marine environment.

This project is a collaboration between the Ecology and Conservation Science for Sustainable Seas (ECOSEAS laboratory), of the Côte d'Azur University (UCA) and the Scientific Center of Monaco (CSM).

The teams involved in the "Impacts of Harmful Algal Blooms" project:

ECOSEAS: Marie-Yasmine Bottein
CSM: Nathalie Hilmi, and her intern, Amandine Couturier.