The Issue

Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when populations of algae grow out of control in bodies of water, as a response to certain conditions such as high water temperature or excess nutrients.  HABs can pose risks to human health and the environment; people can get sick by eating shellfish or fish exposed to a HAB, or can have respiratory problems if they breathe contaminated air near the bloom. Non-human animals are also susceptible to the effects of HABs, which have been linked to shellfish toxicity, fish kills, and deaths of birds and other wildlife. These health risks can have a significant economic impact through the closure of fishing areas and beaches used for recreation, as well as the requirements for specialized treatment of potable water systems.

The Solution

It would be cost prohibitive to monitor every potential HAB site and prepare for a myriad of contingencies.  Instead, targeting site-specific in situ monitoring coupled with predictive modeling, provides an early warning system to advise health officials and resource managers on how to best focus their efforts to protect health and environment.

CSS Innovations and Contributions:  Together with NOAA, CSS has helped to develop a comprehensive approach to conduct research; build tools to identify and detect HABs species, toxins, and levels of toxins; and create workflows for analyzing data on HABs and other environmental issues. 

Our comprehensive support for NOAA includes:

  • developing algorithms to process, classify, and validate remotely-sensed multi-spectral data
  • conducting time-series analyses of oceanographic variables
  • developing software applications and satellite image products
  • developing protocols to validate satellite sensors
  • processing satellite and in situ HABs data
  • preparing environmental assessments and impact statements
  • education and outreach
  • managing scientific instruments
  • designing field sampling
  • data integration and analysis

CSS’ innovations and contributions include:

Additional Projects

Supporting EPA’s Emergency Response Efforts following Hurricane Harvey

CSS staff served as lead technical advisors on a multi-agency environmental response team after Hurricane Harvey. 

Custom Software Engineering

CSS develops customized software solutions for NASA life sciences and energy management.

Audit and Inspection Support for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

For more than 35 years, CSS has provided quality control assessment support to the National Toxicology Program (NTP) on studies relating to the toxicological effects of chemicals in the environment.

IT Services

Our IT solutions meet clients’ evolving needs.

Safety, Health, & Environmental

We provide our clients with tools to protect their workforce, the public, and the environment.

Human Health Risk Assessment

We help advance the understanding of chemical effects on people and the environment.

Environmental Resource Assessment & Management

We apply science to address challenges affecting the nation’s natural resources.

Facilities Operations & Maintenance

We understand your facility support needs and deliver customized solutions.

Earth & Space Science Support & Operations

We deliver scientific support to advance our clients’ research goals.

Satellite Data Applications

Helping create a more environmentally sustainable, weather-ready, and secure nation through application of earth observation data  

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