Since 1993 the IOC has conducted training courses on harmful microalgae. The purpose has been to improve the taxonomic and identification skills of the partici-pants for research purposes and for practical monitoring of harmful algal blooms.
The present course includes 80 hours of teaching and is divided into two parts, each consisting of 40 hours of teaching. The first part of the course is an internet teaching programme mainly for self-study of background material of the various groups of harmful algae, while the second part is a practical course in species identification.

Part I - Distant learning
The distant learning programme is using the UNESCO/IOC platform ‘Ocean Teacher’. The programme consists of 7 modules. There is an introductory text to each module and in some cases also technical documents with information on terminology, sample preparation etc.
Part II – Taxonomy and Species identification
This part of the course will focus on identification of harmful algal species, with particular reference to the ‘IOC Taxonomic Reference List on Toxic Plankton Algae’. The use of electron microscopy will be introduced, but practical exercises are not included.