Wetlands Australia Journal, Vol 12, No 1 (1993)

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Factors affecting the growth and development of blue-green algae

Sean Hardiman


The increased occurrence of algal blooms in Australia has become a problem for water managers and water users alike, particularly in the case of blue-green algal blooms which can have significant impacts on public health and terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna. Several species of blue-green algae are able to produce toxins and other organic compounds (NRA, 1990), which have the potential to cause either neurotoxic, hepatotoxic or dermal reactions in humans and even death in domestic animals.

The can also lead to considerable economic impacts related to tourism and agricultural losses. For example, blooms of the planktonic filamentous blue-green Nodularia spumigena in Victoria and Western Australia have causes regular disruption to local recreation and tourism (NSW, BGTF, 1992). Similarly recent blue-green blooms in the Hawkesbury River have been considered the cause of tourism losses over the last (1991) Christmas period.

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