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  • Writer's pictureAna Castro-Castellon

Public advice on algal blooms

Updated: Feb 21, 2020

We are in the middle of spring with summer fast approaching. Now is a good time to prepare for the warm weather whilst waiting to dip in for a swim, just dipping our toes in natural waters or enjoying our favourite water sport. The warmer air temperature in ponds, lakes and reservoirs warms up the first few meters whilst the bottom remains cold with a narrow mixing area in between. This condition is ideal for the formation of algal blooms.

Blue-green algae or cyanobacteria is the dominant group in algal blooms. Cyanobacteria are called blue-green because the beautiful turquoise coloration given to the water which is due to a pigment, phycocyanin, found in their cells. This group has had thousands of researchers dedicated to their study over decades, if not a century already. Although it is a fascinating group to study, there is a concerning aspect of blue-green algae I would like to mention. The blue-green blooms may be harmful to wildlife and humans because of the production of cyanotoxins. I found the link below to an article from DEFRA providing helpful advice.

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