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Perspective: Advancing the research agenda for improving understanding of cyanobacteria in a future of global change

Journal article
Authors M. A. Burford
C. C. Carey
D. P. Hamilton
J. Huisman
H. W. Paerl
S. A. Wood
Angela Wulff
Published in Harmful Algae
ISSN 1568-9883
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords Climate change, CO 2, cyanoHABs, Temperature
Subject categories Marine ecology, Climate Research


Harmful cyanobacterial blooms (=cyanoHABs) are an increasing feature of many waterbodies throughout the world. Many bloom-forming species produce toxins, making them of particular concern for drinking water supplies, recreation and fisheries in waterbodies along the freshwater to marine continuum. Global changes resulting from human impacts, such as climate change, over-enrichment and hydrological alterations of waterways, are major drivers of cyanoHAB proliferation and persistence. This review advocates that to better predict and manage cyanoHABs in a changing world, researchers need to leverage studies undertaken to date, but adopt a more complex and definitive suite of experiments, observations, and models which can effectively capture the temporal scales of processes driven by eutrophication and a changing climate. Better integration of laboratory culture and field experiments, as well as whole system and multiple-system studies are needed to improve confidence in models predicting impacts of climate change and anthropogenic over-enrichment and hydrological modifications. Recent studies examining adaptation of species and strains to long-term perturbations, e.g. temperature and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) levels, as well as incorporating multi-species and multi-stressor approaches emphasize the limitations of approaches focused on single stressors and individual species. There are also emerging species of concern, such as toxic benthic cyanobacteria, for which the effects of global change are less well understood, and require more detailed study. This review provides approaches and examples of studies tackling the challenging issue of understanding how global changes will affect cyanoHABs, and identifies critical information needs for effective prediction and management. © 2019

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