RosHAB: Rapid on‐site detection of harmful algal blooms
The frequency of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cHABs) in water bodies worldwide is increasing due to climate change and expanding urbanization. Exposure to toxins produced by some cHABs can lead to acute and chronic health problems for humans and animals. Early diagnostic tools that effectively detect and identify cHABs are urgently needed. This project will develop an innovative metagenomic tool for in-the-field surveillance of cHABs in Quebec. It will implement on‐site sampling and analytical procedures that enable its rapid detection in water bodies; and a bioinformatic platform at MELCCFP that includes a user-friendly sequence database of cyanobacteria species. Local municipalities across the province will validate and implement the tool, which can potentially reduce the identification time for cHABs from four days in some cases to less than 24 hours. The overall project goal will be to expand use to other jurisdictions. A comprehensive rapid cHAB observing and forecasting information system would potentially represent a value of at least $130 million annually to Canada.