Artificial Intelligence: AI To Predict Growth Of Harmful Algal Blooms in Oceans

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Researchers in UK universities and government bodies propose to develop machine learning models to predict harmful algal bloom (HAB).

Harmful algal blooms (HAB) occur when colonies of algae — simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater — grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds. Humans are rarely affected, but illnesses triggered by HAB could be fatal. A project in the UK seeks to develop technology to predict the advent of deadly HAB. (Mirage)

Climate change and coastal developments are causing a surge in HABs globally with severe economic consequences.

UK project to combat HAB with AI

A new £200,000 AI project will attempt to develop tools to predict the growth of HAB in oceans.

It is being led by Cornwall Port Health Authority and supported by the University of Exeter, the University of Glasgow, the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), and the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS).

Dr. Andy Turner, from CEFAS, said: “This project will help develop a predictive approach for assessing natural toxin occurrence, which can ultimately benefit the business in the region, aiding the safe supply of shellfish and reduced risks to the health of human consumers of shellfish.”

Data-driven models based on machine learning and statistics would be used along with other methods to predict HABs.

Climate change, sustainability, and HABs

Dr. Ross Brown, from the University of Exeter (Sustainable Aquaculture Futures), said: “This work is particularly pertinent to hotspots in south-west Cornwall, where the frequency and duration of seasonal blooms of warm water HABs species could increase substantially with climate change.”

Dr. Oliver Stoner, from the University of Glasgow, said: “This work will exemplify the positive impact scientific innovation and statistical modeling can have on the sustainability agenda.”

Business Minister Lord Callanan said: “Predicting HABs using artificial intelligence could pave the way for exciting developments in the sector, bringing benefits to British businesses and consumers alike.”

Related Story: A New $620M Innovation Fund Wants Britain To Become The “Silicon Valley Of Energy”

Image Credit of Harmful Algal Bloom in Western Basin of Lake Erie, July 2, 2018, (Photo Credit – Aerial Associates Photography, Inc. by Zachary Haslick): Flickr

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