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S-3 EUROHAB - Sentinel products for detecting EUtROphication and Harmful Algal Bloom events

Plankton bloom in the channel, courtesy of PML's remote sensing group

Completed project

Project start: July 2017  |  Project end: December 2022
Funder: Interreg
Principal Investigator: Dr Gavin H Tilstone
Other participants from PML:

Claire Widdicombe, Dr Andrey Kurekin, Dr Gavin H. Tilstone, Dr Glen Tarran, Dr James Fishwick, Dr Océane Marcone, Dr Peter Miller, Dr Ruth Airs, Dr Ruth Calder-Potts, Dr Tim Smyth, E. Malcolm S. Woodward, Silvia Pardo.

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S-3 EUROHAB will use the latest satellite technology to improve the way water quality and harmful algal blooms (HABs) are monitored in the English Channel.

Harmful algal blooms are caused by excessive growth of marine algae which release harmful toxins into the water that can kill fish, shellfish and even humans when they consume contaminated fish. As a result they can have an extremely damaging effect on the fishing and tourism industries. In the EU the annual cost of HABs to these industries is estimated to be in excess of 918 million euros.

The project will use data from the recently launched European satellite, Copernicus Sentinel 3, to track the growth and spread of harmful algal blooms in the Channel. This data will then be used to create a web based alert system, the first of its kind in Europe, to alert marine managers and fishing industries of the growth of potentially damaging algal blooms. The alert system will result in much faster response times that will help stop the spread of HABS, reducing the millions of pounds lost each year as a result of HABs in both France and the UK. Data will also be gathered to help better understand why, how and when HABS occur.


Current methods of tracking HABs are inefficient and expensive, costing 2 million euros annually to monitor just 6% of the Channel area. S-3 EUROHAB’s methods will not only cost significantly less, just 42,000 euros annually, but will also cover the whole Channel area.