Wildlife Algal-toxin Research and Response Network for the U.S. West Coast (WARRN-West)
A coast-wide surveillance program that identifies algal toxin exposure in marine wildlife populations.
What We Do
Algal toxin exposure can impact many marine mammals, including dolphins, whales, sea otters, and sea lions. WARRN-West is a coast-wide surveillance program that identifies algal toxin exposure in marine wildlife populations. We monitor for domoic acid (the toxin responsible for Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) and saxitoxin (the most potent toxin of the Paralytic Shellfish Toxins).
The sampling network consists of federal, state, public, private, and academic partners and the major marine mammal stranding networks on the US West Coast. We test all species of marine mammals and make the results available in near real-time.
In a complementary study funded by ECOHAB, we use a biomedical model (zebrafish) to find biomarkers indicative of chronic disease caused by domoic acid exposure. This marriage of the biomedical model and field exposed sentinel species help us develop effective biomarkers of disease. We can use these biomarkers to assess “at-risk” human and wildlife populations.
Network partners include:
- NOAA Fisheries
- Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Networks
- North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game
- Marine Mammal Center
- Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Alaska SeaGrant
- Whale Museum of Friday Harbor
- USGS National Wildlife Health Center
- Alaska US Fish and Wildlife Service
- Alaska Veterinary Pathology Service
- Alaska SeaLife Center
- Cascadia Research Collective
- Marine Mammal Institute Oregon State University
- Portland State University
- University of Washington
- University of Alaska Fairbanks
- University of California Davis One Health Institute
Submit a Sample
If you would like to submit marine mammal samples for testing, please contact Maryjean Willis via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: (206) 860-3315.
Sample collection instructions and submission forms:
*Submission forms are required for all samples.
Funding and Research Support
NOAA’s Ocean and Human Health (OHH) Traineeship program
ECOHAB (Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms) program
NOAA’s Office of Protected Resources
Kathi Lefebvre, Marine Microbes and Toxins Program