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Early career opportunity in South Africa

08
Sep
2015

Assessment of the risk posed by harmful algal blooms [HABs] in algoa bay

The department of Botany at NMMU is offering two MSc projects on phytoplankton in Algoa Bay, starting in 2016. Details of the project are given below.

The purpose of this project is to determine the potential of harmful algal blooms (HABs) to impact the existing and emerging marine aquaculture enterprises in Algoa Bay. Although it is acknowledged that HABs are more prevalent to the west of Cape Agulhas, it is recognised that they are not restricted to this area. Recent blooms of the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia multiseries containing domoic acid (causes amnesic shellfish poisoning) affected Algoa Bay shellfish. On a much larger scale the recent dominance of the dinoflagellate, Lingulodinium polyedrum impacted Algoa Bay for almost a year. This species is associated with diarrhetic shellfish poisoning. These findings together with a recent increase in the number of positive tests for lipophilic toxins on shellfish farms in Algoa Bay provide strong motivation for further investigation into the occurrence of HABs in this region. This project is intended to study phytoplankton biodiversity within various habitats of the Bay and in so doing identify HAB species that may pose a threat to marine aquaculture in Algoa Bay. The harmful status of these species will include assessment of their impact on aquaculture, fisheries and seafood safety.

For further information on the projects and to discuss aspects that interest you please contact Dr Derek du Preez (derek.dupreez@nmmu.ac.za). Please include your academic record (CV).