Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 391–401 | Cite as

Cyanobacterial blooms and water quality in Greek waterbodies

  • Elizabeth Vardaka
  • Maria Moustaka-Gouni
  • Catherine M. Cook
  • Tom Lanaras


The cyanobacterial species composition of nine Greek waterbodies of different type and trophic status was examined during the warm period of the year (May–October). Cyanobacterial water blooms were observed in all waterbodies. Forty-six cyanobacterial taxa were identified, 11 of which are known to be toxic. Eighteen species are reported for the first time in these waterbodies, 8 of which are known to produce toxins. Toxin producing species were found in all of the waterbodies and were primarily dominant in bloom formations (e.g., Microcystis aeruginosa, Anabaena flos-aquae, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii). Cosmopolitan species (e.g., M. aeruginosa), pantropic (e.g., Anabaenopsis tanganyikae) and holarctic species (e.g., Anabaena flos-aquae) were encountered. Shallow, eutrophic waterbodies had blooms dominated by Microcystis species and were characterized by phytoplankton association M. Anabaena and Aphanizomenon species of association H were dominant in waterbodies with low dissolved inorganic nitrogen and thermal stratification in the summer. Total cyanobacterial biovolumes (CBV) ranged from 7 to 9,507 cm3 m−3 and were higher than Alert Level 2 and Guidance Level 2 (10 cm3 m−3; World Health Organization; WHO) in seven of the waterbodies. Chlorophyll a concentrations ranged from 6 to 90,000 mg m−3 and were higher than Alert Level 2 and Guidance Level 2 (50 mg m−3; WHO) in eight of the waterbodies. There is also an elevated risk of acute toxicosis (Guidance Level 3; WHO) in five waterbodies. Water of an undesirable quality, hazardous to humans and animals occurs in several Greek waterbodies.

Key words

associations biovolume chlorophyll a Microcystis risk-assessment toxin-producing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Vardaka
    • 1
    • 3
  • Maria Moustaka-Gouni
    • 1
  • Catherine M. Cook
    • 2
  • Tom Lanaras
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF)Agricultural Research Centre of Macedonia-ThraceThermiGreece
  3. 3.Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture TechnologyTechnological Educational Institute of ThessalonikiNew MoudaniaGreece

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