Objective and main expected results

Algal blooms constitute a serious threat in coastal areas for both wild and caged fish populations. The existing monitoring programme in Denmark of harmful algal blooms implicated in fish kills relies on conventional light microscopy for identification of the algal species involved. This approach has strong limitations and has led to numerous misidentifications of the causative species. In fact many of the species implicated in fish kills in Denmark cannot be properly identified using traditional methods. Additionally, no analytic chemical methods are yet available for identification and quantification of the toxins involved.


The present project aims at identifying and quantifying algal toxins associated with fish kills, their effects and mechanisms of actions on fish, and fish fry. The project will also provide tools for contemporary molecular identification and abundance estimates of the implicated algal species. Finally, the project will explore the mechanisms behind possible acclimation of fish to ichthyotoxic algae and potential accumulation of toxins in fish. Thus, the overall objective of the project is to provide a highly improved monitoring and risk assessment program for identification, enumeration of ichthyotoxic algae and their toxin profiles in Danish waters.

The main results of the project will be

These results will lead to a significantly improved monitoring programme in Danish waters when implemented by responsible parties. The results of this project will also benefit the Danish fish farming industry if we can develop fish fry that is less susceptible to ichthyotoxins by exposing early life stages to low toxin doses. The potential outcome of this will also have international interest and export possibilities at a worldwide scale.