From the distribution of the toxic algae, the measuring systems and bloom forecast to the effects on health

The European project M3-HABs (Monitoring, Modelling and Mitigation of Harmful Algal Blooms) is aims at perfecting systems and procedures addressed to forecast blooms of a toxic alga, Ostreopsis Ovata. “Bloom” is an English term commonly used by researchers to describe the very fast growth of an algal colony that can trigger in one coastal area. In reality, it triggers in many coastal areas, and the project, indeed, works on the entire Mediterranean. Forecasting a bloom means being able to warn the coasts against a certainly annoying phenomenon, that prevents staying on the beach and, of course, bathing. The effects on health are substantially weak in 90% of the situations, yet it seems that more serious effects can happen as well, and we will discuss that in the last video.
Here are then showcased seven videos, each lasting a few minutes. It is a quick trip through the research process of the project. We recommend watching them in sequence.



  • Rosella Bertolotto, Operating unit Director of specializedactivities – Maritime sector, ARPA Liguria, describes in this interview the issue when communicating with the many local subjects and the public when you have to deal with blooms and their consequences.
  • But what is the bloom situation in the Mediterranean? Luisa Mangialajo from Sophia-Antipolis University – Nice, in National Research Council delegation for the Villefranche-sur-Mer OceanographicLaboratory, explains the “map” of the phenomenon and its intrinsic
  • In order to provide bloom forecasts it is necessary to gather samples instandard methods and and established periodicity. This is explained by Antonella Penna, from Urbino University – CoNISMa, who is working with her team to complete an early forecasting tool, based on new technologies. The issue is still the same: what threshold of Ostreopsis is telling us that a bloom is nearing?
  • Massimo Vassalli, researcher of the Biophysics Institute forthe National Research Council, receives samples taken by CoNISMa. Here we find a second counting and forecasting method: optics and computers are the core component here.
  • With this video and the following one we describe a different measuringprocedure. Here Andrea Pedroncini, Maritime Sector Manager for DHI Italy, explains the first step: gauging the meteo-marine variables.
  • Ennio Ottaviani, scientific supervisor of On Air SRL, workson the meteo-marine variables by processing them through mathematical algorithms, using software which seek unifying explainations from massime data amounts. Their goal is to find a formula that could forecast the bloom
  • The seventh video is in autonomy from the others. Rodolphe Lemée, from theVillefranche-sur-Mer Oceanographic Laboratory, describes the effects on health of the algae.
  • Mariachiara Chiantore, project coordinator, presents the final results of the research

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