Hutchins on "Toxic Harmful Algal Blooms in a Warmer, More Acidic Future Ocean”

Start Date/Time: Thursday, November 15, 2012, 11:00 AM
Location: Northwest Fisheries Science Center Auditorium: 2725 Montlake Blvd. E., Seattle.

2012 Fall Quarter NWFSC Weekly Monster Seminar JAM series is part of the OneNOAA Science Discussion Seminar Series

Dr. David Hutchins
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Southern California

The frequency and intensity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and phytoplankton community shifts toward toxic species have increased worldwide. Although much research has focused on eutrophication as the cause of this trend, many other global- and regional-scale anthropogenic influences may also play a role. Global change-driven ocean acidification (high pCO2/low pH), greenhouse warming, shifts in nutrient availability, ratios, and speciation, changing exposure to solar irradiance and altered salinity all have the potential to profoundly affect the growth and toxicity of these HABs. Our new work with several diatom and dinoflagellate HAB species suggests that ocean acidification combined with nutrient limitation or temperature changes may dramatically increase the toxicity of some harmful groups. This observation underscores the need for more in-depth consideration of poorly understood interactions between multiple global change variables on HAB physiology and ecology in a rapidly changing future marine environment.

Following undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Biology from Portland State University, I got my PhD training as an interdisciplinary biogeochemist in the lab of Ken Bruland at UC Santa Cruz. There, I learned trace metal chemistry and biology which I applied to questions about phytoplankton iron limitation. I did a postdoc at SUNY Stony Brook on metal and radionuclide accumulation in marine organisms, and was on the faculty in the College of Marine Studies at the University of Delaware for 10 years where I continued to work on trace metal/biota interactions, and began my first studies of global change impacts on phytoplankton. After moving to the University of Southern California I have greatly expanded this aspect of my research efforts, with multiple projects focusing on how ocean acidification, warming, and other climate change factors may interactively affect key groups of marine phytoplankton, including harmful bloom algae, nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria, coccolithophores, and polar diatoms and flagellates. My current lab group consists of four Ph.D. students, a postdoc, an undergraduate researcher, and my wife Feixue Fu, who is on the research faculty at USC.


Fu F.-X., Tatters A.O., and Hutchins, D.A. (In press). Global change and the future of harmful algal blooms in the ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series

Tatters, A.O., Fu, F.X. and Hutchins, D.A. (2012). High CO2 and silicate limitation synergistically increase the toxicity of a harmful bloom diatom. PLoS ONE. 7(2): e32116. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032116

Sun, J., Hutchins, D.A., Feng, Y., Seubert, E.L., Caron, D.A., and Fu, F.-X. (2011). Effects of changing pCO2 and phosphate availability on domoic acid production and physiology of the marine harmful bloom diatom Pseudo-nitzschia multiseries. Limnology and Oceanography 56(3): 829-840.

Fu, F.-X., Place, A.R., Garcia, N.S, Hutchins, D.A. (2010) Effects of changing pCO2 and phosphate availability on toxin production and physiology of the harmful bloom dinoflagellate Karlodinium veneficum. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 59: 55-65.

Hutchins, D.A., Mulholland, M.R. and Fu, F.-X. (2009). Nutrient cycles and marine microbes in a CO2-enriched ocean. Oceanography 22: 128-145.

Fu, F.-X., Zhang, Y., Warner, M.E., Feng, Y., and Hutchins, D.A. (2008). A comparison of future increased CO2 and temperature effects on sympatric Heterosigma akashiwo and Prorocentrum minimum. Harmful Algae 7: doi:10.1016/j.hal.2007.05.006.


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