What the HAB is that? – Final Version

A Shellfish Aquaculturist’s Guide to Understanding/Identifying Harmful Algal Blooms in lower Chesapeake Bay

Audience: Local shellfish growers

Purpose: Understanding/identifying blooms that may be occurring in their area

Dissemination: So far, it will be posted on the VDH HAB Resources page, possibly the VIMS website, possibly the VMRC website, and I will personally distribute it to all the growers/industry members I work with


PDF of the Infographic (for electronic dissemination):

HAB Infographic-2ac3kw3


Word version of only the HAB ID table (for easy printing):

HAB Infographic printable-1p75trt







HAB Infographic ~ 1st Draft

What the HAB is that?

An Aquaculturist’s Guide to Understanding Harmful Algal Blooms in the lower Chesapeake Bay


Target Audience: Aquaculturists in the lower Bay.

Purpose: To provide information to local shellfish farmers about harmful algal blooms, their effects, and potential mitigation strategies. My outreach mentor, Tommy Leggett, is a local oyster and clam farmer, and he expressed interest in a quick and dirty resource for identifying whatever bloom might be hanging out over his oysters and whether he should be worried about it.

The Infographic: My primary focus points are accuracy and relevance to my target audience. In my limited space, I’ve tried to include some of the most important “fun” facts about blooms, information about common bloom-formers and their impacts, and resources growers can use to make reports and find additional information. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time or technical skills to create all of the icons myself (I made the oyster:), and I may try to replace some of those pictured with designs of my own.

Additional Work: I am in the process of communicating with industry members and representatives, scientists, and VDH for feedback. I’m also still pondering the best way to distribute this graphic. When I have a closer-to-final draft, I plan to reach out to some industry groups and ask if I can use their communication resources (e.g. newsletters, websites, etc.)


ASCS Proposal: Drop HABs like a bad HABit

ASCS Proposal: Harmful Algal Blooms

Clara Robison, VIMS


I plan to create an infographic to describe these key concepts:

  • What is a harmful algal bloom (HAB)?
    • Address each word in the phrase individually, ie:
      • What makes the event Harmful?
      • Why is it considered Algal?
      • What defines a Bloom?
    • What factors can facilitate the formation of a HAB? (we don’t know the precise combination of influencers that cause a bloom)
      • Circle containing an image of a HAB with arrows pointing inward from surrounding bubbles containing images representing factors that can facilitate HAB formation (e.g. a storm cloud representing weather, a bag of fertilizer or a sewage treatment plan to represent nutrient pollution, etc.)
    • How can a HAB adversely affect the environment?
      • Circle containing an image of a HAB with arrows pointing outward to bubbles containing images representing adverse effects of HABs (e.g. a fish kill, a VDH sign reporting shellfish beds are closed for harvest, etc.)
    • The usual suspects – a short list of common Chesapeake Bay HABs, a sketch of each (I’d like to do these myself), brief description of the species, appearance, general time of year, and any negative impacts that have been associated with the species

Additional information

  • Number for the HAB hotline and perhaps a description of how to collect/submit water samples to VIMS.

Audience and Desired Impact:

I would like this project to be informative to shellfish growers (and other industry members) and members of the public. I hope the descriptions of the HABs will benefit growers who may encounter blooms on their farms – based on the appearance and time of year, I hope the infographic will help growers identify the most likely subject in order to mitigate potential adverse impacts (e.g. wait to harvest until after the bloom has dissipated for some time). I hope the more general info will inform the public about the causes and effects of the blooms, perhaps to facilitate political action and/or work to reduce nutrient pollution.

Because, after making the infographic, I will have many of the elements necessary for an animation, I may create one of those as well, but that will depend on time.