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Modelling the hydrodynamic conditions associated with Dinophysis blooms in Galicia (NW Spain)

Ruiz-Villarreal, Manuel, García-García, Luz M., Cobas, Marcos, Díaz, Patricio A., Reguera, Beatriz
Harmful algae 2016 v.53 pp. 40-52
Dinophysis, algae, algal blooms, aquaculture, coasts, harvesting, hydrodynamics, models, prediction, risk, toxicity, toxins, Spain
The northwestern Iberian coast (Galician Rías and shelf) is frequently affected by toxic harmful algal blooms (HABs) (mainly Dinophysis spp.), leading to lengthy harvesting closures in a region where aquaculture has a strong socioeconomic impact. The project ASIMUTH ( aimed to develop forecasting capabilities to warn of impending HABs along the European Atlantic coast. Simulations with the ROMS model (hydrodynamical and ecological simulations complemented with Lagrangian particle tracking simulations) of the Galician coastal circulation have been performed in the framework of the ASIMUTH project to characterize and forecast oceanographic conditions before and during HAB periods. In this work, we present the Galician ASIMUTH forecast system and demonstrate its skill in predicting HAB transport and its usefulness to provide assessment for the management of the areas affected by toxic outbreaks. Experience gained during DSP events in 2005 and 2013 is shown. We also describe the Galician pilot HAB bulletins, aimed at distributing forecasts of HAB events that might induce closures of harvesting areas or, when the areas are already closed, at giving information on forthcoming oceanographic conditions that could favour or hamper the opening of an area. Our results show that the model forecasts and the bulletins can provide early warning of the risk of Dinophysis spp. events and the risk of closures linked to the presence of DSP toxins above regulatory levels in harvesting areas.