Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms: Chapter 1: An Overview of the Interagency, International Symposium on Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (ISOC-HAB): Advancing the Scientific Understanding of Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms
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There is growing evidence that the spatial and temporal incidence of harmful algal blooms is increasing, posing potential risks to human health and ecosystem sustainability. Currently there are no US Federal guidelines, Water Quality Criteria and Standards, or regulations concerning the management of harmful algal blooms. Algal blooms in freshwater are predominantly cyanobacteria, some of which produce highly potent cyanotoxins. The US Congress mandated a Scientific Assessment of Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms in the 2004 reauthorization of the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Act. To further the scientific understanding of freshwater harmful algal blooms, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established an interagency committee to organize the Interagency, International Symposium on Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (ISOC-HAB). A theoretical framework to define scientific issues and a systems approach to implement the assessment and management of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms were developed as organizing themes for the symposium. Seven major topic areas and 23 subtopics were addressed in Workgroups and platform sessions during the symposium. The primary charge given to platform presenters was to describe the state of the science in the subtopic areas, whereas the Workgroups were charged with identifying research that could be accomplished in the short- and long-term to reduce scientific uncertainties. The proceedings of the symposium, published in this monograph, are intended to inform policy determinations and the mandated Scientific Assessment by describing the scientific knowledge and areas of uncertainty concerning freshwater harmful algal blooms.