PRTR Desarrollo de un método de control de proliferaciones de algas nocivas basado en sistemas dinámicos

[Cod. TED2021-132886B-I00 PRTR HABSYS]

Harmful algal blooms are defined as algae events that cause harm to human health or socioeconomic interests, or to components of aquatic ecosystems particularly in coastal or near-shore areas throughout the world. Although naturally occurring since ancient times at fertile regions, it is commonly agreed upon that the problems associated with HABs are on the increase. Although harmful algal blooms are extremely dangerous for human health and deleterious for commercial exploitation of coastal areas, current status of mitigation and control is uneven and inadequate in comparison to advances made, for example, in terrestrial biological pest control programs using natural parasites or grazers. However, there is increasing pressure from stake holders, coastal managers, regulatory authorities and the general public, to reduce the impacts of HAB events, especially as terrestrial pest management that combines biological control with chemical agents has proven to be effective. The general objective of the present proposal is to mechanistically analyze and model the infection process of dinoflagellates by parasites and to explore the possible use of natural parasite dynamics manipulation as a biological control tool for high biomass blooms occurring along the Mediterranean coasts. We aim at (1) characterizing the mechanisms of parasite-host interaction, (2) determining the role of environmental factors and chemical activators and (3) numerically assessing the conditions for which the biological control of dinoflagellates by means of their natural parasites would be viable While in laboratory cultures parasites are very virulent, in the natural environment, where the chances of being found are lower, their infectivity is lower. The conditions under which the host population is under control of its parasite can be regarded as an operational window for the potential use of the parasite to biologically control an outbreak of the host. The ability to manipulate the parasite population with biochemical agents, such as DMS, opens the possibility of defining a feedback control system for the evolution of dinoflagellate populations.