Molecular detection of toxigenic and harmful phytoplankton

Development & Implementation of novel molecular assays for the routine detection of toxigenic and harmful  phytoplankton species in Irish coastal waters and sediments

This project is a partnership between ATU and the Marine Institute who is providing financial support by means of a CULLEN fellowship (CS/21/007) held by Ms Nicole Caputo and supervised by Dr Luca Mirimin (ATU), Dr Fiona Kavanagh (ATU) and Dave Clarke (Marine Institute).

The primary aim is to validate and implement DNA-based methods for the detection and quantification of Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) species in Irish coastal waters and sediments into a routine monitoring programme. Species of interest include Pseudo-nitzschia spp., Azadinium spp., Alexandrium minutum, Vulcanodinium rugrosum, Ostreopsis spp., Gambierdiscus spp..

To pursue the above aim, the primary objectives of the project include a global review of existing molecular approaches, comparison of field and laboratory protocols encompassing both species-specific qPCR/dPCR assays and metabarcoding in conjunction with direct methods such as microscopy (light, epi-fluorescence, SEM), and develop appropriate DNA-based tools for their integration into monitoring programmes of HAB species in Ireland.

Project Contact:

Project Team

Lecturer and researcher
Lecturer in Aquatic Ecology