The Issue

Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when populations of algae grow out of control in bodies of water, as a response to certain conditions such as high water temperature or excess nutrients.  HABs can pose risks to human health and the environment; people can get sick by eating shellfish or fish exposed to a HAB, or can have respiratory problems if they breathe contaminated air near the bloom. Non-human animals are also susceptible to the effects of HABs, which have been linked to shellfish toxicity, fish kills, and deaths of birds and other wildlife. These health risks can have a significant economic impact through the closure of fishing areas and beaches used for recreation, as well as the requirements for specialized treatment of potable water systems.

The Solution

It would be cost prohibitive to monitor every potential HAB site and prepare for a myriad of contingencies.  Instead, targeting site-specific in situ monitoring coupled with predictive modeling, provides an early warning system to advise health officials and resource managers on how to best focus their efforts to protect health and environment.

CSS Innovations and Contributions:  Together with NOAA, CSS has helped to develop a comprehensive approach to conduct research; build tools to identify and detect HABs species, toxins, and levels of toxins; and create workflows for analyzing data on HABs and other environmental issues. 

Our comprehensive support for NOAA includes:

  • developing algorithms to process, classify, and validate remotely-sensed multi-spectral data
  • conducting time-series analyses of oceanographic variables
  • developing software applications and satellite image products
  • developing protocols to validate satellite sensors
  • processing satellite and in situ HABs data
  • preparing environmental assessments and impact statements
  • education and outreach
  • managing scientific instruments
  • designing field sampling
  • data integration and analysis

CSS’ innovations and contributions include:

Additional Projects

HABs Interagency Research and Action Plans

Our scientists helped set the standard for coordinated research and action to reduce the impacts of HABs.

Space Life Sciences Lab (SLSL)

CSS delivers onsite Operations, Facility, IT, and Health & Safety oversight for the Space Life Sciences Laboratory (SLSL).

Predictive Modeling and the HABTracker

CSS scientists helped develop HABTracker, a HAB Forecast system.

Safety, Health, & Environmental

We provide our clients with tools to protect their workforce, the public, and the environment.

Satellite Data Applications

Helping create a more environmentally sustainable, weather-ready, and secure nation through application of earth observation data  

Facilities Operations & Maintenance

We understand your facility support needs and deliver customized solutions.

Environmental Resource Assessment & Management

We apply science to address challenges affecting the nation’s natural resources.

IT Services

Our IT solutions meet clients’ evolving needs.

Emergency Preparedness & Response

We help our clients prepare for and protect the health and environment of communities after disasters and hazmat releases.

Human Health Risk Assessment

We help advance the understanding of chemical effects on people and the environment.

Get in touch

Contact us to learn more about our projects, capabilities, solutions, and service offerings.