IFOP strengthens national and international links for red tide survey

[Australia, Chile, Japan] The Institute of Fisheries Development (IFOP) signed two important research projects with Japan and Australia, to deepen the study of red tides.

The Japanese project was signed with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Science and Technology Agency (JST), which will finance a joint study with the Universities of Kyoto and Okayama, in addition to the National Institute of Science Research of the Fisheries

In the case of the one with Australia, it was signed with CSIRO-Chile (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), which promotes collaboration between Chile and Australia to deliver applied world-class research in mining, coastal marine, and water management.

On September 28, the IFOP opened the Harmful Algal Studies Centre (CREAN), based in Puerto Montt, whose main objective is to provide continuity and strengthen monitoring and research studies on harmful algae, marine toxins and oceanographic associated conditions, financed by the regular research program defined by the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (SUBPESCA). In addition, this centre seeks to establish a permanent specialized collaboration space in operational actions and research with academia and national and international institutions.

“Since 2006 IFOP has been developing the study ‘Program on Management and Monitoring of the red tides in the regions of Los Lagos, Aysén and Magallanes’, which is currently in its XI stage, and from January 2018 will begin the study Program on Management and Monitoring of harmful algal blooms and marine toxins in the Pacific Ocean from Biobío to Aysén (Stage I) 2018 “, explained Leonardo Guzmán, head of the aquaculture research division.

“Therefore, studies on harmful algae by the IFOP will cover from 37° to 55° south latitude, considering the regions of Biobío, La Araucanía, Los Ríos, Los Lagos, Aysén and Magallanes, in order to have timely and reliable information to protect public health and minimize the impacts associated with red tide events,” he explained.

Likewise, CREAN has recently been favoured by the awarding of other studies related to this topic. One of them is the project ‘Development of monitoring methods and a system for forecasting harmful algal blooms for sustainable aquaculture and coastal fishing in Chile’, funded by the Japanese agencies JICA and JST, starting in April 2018 and a duration of five years. The central product of this study will be the installation of a molecular biology technique (genetics) that allows the identification, in situ, of the types of toxic phytoplankton species that generate red tide.

This study is carried out jointly by Japan with the Universities of Kyoto and Okayama, in addition to the National Institute of Fisheries Science Research, and on the Chilean side, with the University of Antofagasta, Universidad de la Frontera and Universidad de Los Lagos.”

Leonardo Núñez, executive director of IFOP, added: “The Institute has been awarded jointly with CSIRO (Chile), a project funded by the Fund for the Promotion of Scientific and Technological Development (FONDEF) called ‘Hyper-spectral fingerprint of species of red tide through the coupling of remote bio-optical signals and in situ in Chile Austral’, which is expected to start in December 2017.” This study is aimed at determining the “fingerprint” of the microalgae pigments, present in the water column, with the aim of implementing this knowledge in the use of satellite images, to distinguish remotely the presence of pigments associated with species that generate harmful blooms (red tide).

“In summary, both studies will improve the capacities of the country, to face harmful events, which at the global level have shown in the last 50 years to have increased in frequency, geographical coverage and intensity”, concluded Núñez.


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