Mechanisms influencing initiation of harmful algal blooms (HABs) are diverse, and are not likely to be mutually exclusive. Rather, initiation of HABs is a result of interactions between processes, which result in biological, physical, and chemical conditions optimal for a bloom. Due to the complexity of some bloom initiation processes, bloom-preventative management may be possible. Results from a modeling exercise and a laboratory experiment indicated that a phytoplankton bloom could be circumvented through manipulation of the nutrient-loading mode, i.e., pulsed vs. continuous loading. These findings, should they prove consistent in more robust field experiments, may provide insights for the development of new management approaches for some HABs. Optimal bloom conditions, however, vary between HAB species. Consequently, it is unlikely that a single management solution will exist. Preventative management efforts will require early warning of HAB initiation, perhaps even before the appearance of an HAB species. An indicator based on the dynamic nature of phytoplankton succession events and phytoplankton species diversity may prove useful for this purpose. Applying this index to an existing plankton data set showed that Microcystis blooms might have been predicted months before the start of the bloom.