Clara Robison

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.