Harmful Algal Blooms

Juliette L. Smith, Assistant Professor

The Smith Lab group studies the chemistry, ecology, and ecotoxicology of bioactive compounds synthesized by harmful algae in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments.  We are interested in 1) how we influence harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their associated biotoxins (e.g., through eutrophication, coastal development, and climate change), and 2) how they, in turn, persist/degrade in the environment, impact ecological functioning, and threaten public health. More specifically, our research focuses on anthropogenic and natural drivers of toxin production and algal blooms, the stability and transport of the natural toxins, the accumulation, biotransformation, and transfer of the biotoxins through food webs, and the ecotoxicology of phycotoxins in organisms and ecosystems. We develop analytical methods (e.g., LC-MS/MS) and in-situ tools for such goals as resource management, evaluating risk, and/or explorative research.

Current research interests:

1. Source, fate, and effect of biotoxins

2. Trophic transfer, metabolism, and depuration

3. Nutrient pollution and climate change effects

4. Chemical ecology

5. Drinking water and seafood safety

6. Aquaculture sustainability

Red tide bloom (Alexandrium fundyense) in the Nauset Marsh Estuary System, Cape Cod, MA. Photo by D. Kulis.

Primary Investigator: Dr. Juliette L. Smith