Research Topic

Cyanobacterial Blooms in a Changing World

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The incidence and intensity of cyanobacterial blooms are on the rise worldwide and it has been suggested that global change might aggravate the frequency, intensity and spreading of such blooms, promoting an increase in cyanobacterial occurrence, even in higher latitudes. Altered precipitation patterns ...

The incidence and intensity of cyanobacterial blooms are on the rise worldwide and it has been suggested that global change might aggravate the frequency, intensity and spreading of such blooms, promoting an increase in cyanobacterial occurrence, even in higher latitudes. Altered precipitation patterns augmenting external nutrient loadings and increasing residence time, elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, higher salinity and direct and indirect temperature effects are all expected to act in concert in favor of cyanobacteria growth and its dominance in aquatic ecosystems.
Harmful effects of cyanobacterial blooms include potential intoxication of humans and cattle, foul odors, fish kills, anoxia, unaesthetic sights and water use restrictions, directly affecting social and economical conditions. However, the actual impact of various climate change scenarios on bloom development, composition and toxicity are unknown.

After more than four decades of intensive research on cyanobacterial issues the comprehension of mechanisms linked to the expansion and control of blooms in diverse aquatic systems and the main drivers that stimulate cyanotoxin production still present important gaps. This limits our ability to suggest effective management strategies to reduce the occurrence of these events and hampers the application of those actions in diverse social and economic realities. Moreover, we need to evolve an integrative understanding of the role of causal factors leading to cyanobacterial blooms, including biological driving forces, toxin production and their consequences under different climate scenarios.

This Research Topic intends to present a collection of studies exploring several aspects of the occurrence of cyanobacterial blooms in freshwater, including: abiotic drivers (such as temperature, nutrients, CO2), allelopathic and/or infochemical interactions or competition between species of cyanobacteria or among cyanobacteria and other components of plankton communities, effects of these factors on the physiology and diversity of cyanobacteria, influence of cyanobacteria on carbon fluxes, mitigation of cyanobacterial blooms, cyanotoxins bioaccumulation and biodegradation.

Manuscripts that address these issues emphasizing aspects related to climate change are welcome. Future climate conditions are expected to exacerbate cyanobacterial blooms, but whether such blooms will be more, less or equally toxic compared to current situations is unknown. Shedding light in water quality and its effect on cyanobacteria growth and toxicity under future climate scenarios will provide useful information to scientists, water managers, drinking water companies and decision makers.


Keywords: Climate change, toxins, management, freshwater, plakton


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