Anderson, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will present "New Applications of Autonomous Biosensors in Harmful Algal Bloom (Red Tide) Research and Monitoring."
Blooms of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense cause recurrent outbreaks of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in the Gulf of Maine region of the U.S. The outbreaks can be widespread, covering hundreds of km of coastline, or localized in small embayments and estuaries. In recent years, Anderson's studies of Alexandrium dynamics in both of these systems have incorporated two novel biosensors - the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) and the Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB). The ESP uses molecular assays to detect and analyze cells and toxins whereas the IFCB is an automated underwater microscope. This talk will summarize the results and lessons from multiple years of ESP and IFCB deployments in both systems. For the Gulf of Maine work, a new application is highlighted - the estimation of shellfish flesh toxicity at nearby shore stations using ESP-derived cell counts in coastal waters. Most recently the ESP and the IFCB have been co-deployed from a specially built observatory raft. These instruments have typically been deployed separately, but in 2016, were used concurrently during a major A. fundyense bloom for the first time. Data collected from each of these instruments are transmitted to the lab in near real-time and Anderson's team has begun leveraging this data stream for targeted, adaptive sampling of different A. fundyense life cycle stages. One example is their use of a newly developed High-Speed Microscale Imaging System (HSMIS) that is able to record A. fundyense swimming without interference from wall effects and sample heating, both factors that are inherent to traditional microscopy. Together, these new technologies are providing extraordinary new insights into the rate processes underlying A. fundyense blooms. Specifically, field populations of Alexandrium cells swim and migrate faster (1.3 - 2X), divide faster (up to 2X), produce more gametes (up to 4X) and are more toxic (4X) than indicated from past culture-based experiments using isolates from these same waters. The implications of these findings are profound as it is clear that culture-based assessments have substantially underestimated the true growth and toxigenic potential of natural blooms of Alexandrium. Clearly, sensors like these can play a significant role in HAB research, monitoring, and management.
Don Anderson is a Senior Scientist in the Biology Department of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He earned three degrees from MIT - a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1970, and a MS (1975) and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1977. He joined the scientific staff at WHOI in 1978. In 1993, he was awarded the Stanley W. Watson Chair for Excellence in Oceanography, in 1999 was named a NOAA Environmental Hero, in 2006 received the Yasumoto Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae (ISSHA), and in 2017, the Bostwick H. Ketchum Award. Anderson is the former director of WHOI's Coastal Ocean Institute (COI), and presently serves as Director of the Cooperative Institute for North Atlantic Research (CINAR). Anderson also serves as Director of the U.S. National Office for Harmful Algal Blooms.
Anderson's research focus is on toxic or harmful algal blooms (HABs), commonly called "red tides". His research ranges from molecular and physiological studies of growth, sexuality, and toxin production to the large-scale oceanography and ecology of the "blooms" of these microorganisms, including numerical modeling, forecasting, and a range of monitoring and management strategies, many reliant on novel instrumentation and biosensors. Along with an active field and laboratory research program, Anderson is heavily involved in national and international program development for research, monitoring, and management of red tides, marine biotoxins, and HABs. He has testified multiple times before Congressional committees, and has been actively involved in legislation and appropriations related to HABs and hypoxia. He is also an advisor to multiple foreign countries and international aid organizations in the evaluation or creation of management programs for HABs.
Anderson is the author, co-author, or editor of over 330 scientific papers and 14 books.