Special Issue “Effects of Harmful Cyanobacteria on Ecosystem Functioning, Food Webs, and Water Quality”- Water, MDPI

Dear Colleagues,

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) in frehwaters and partly also in brackish, coastal seas are frequently dominated by cyanobateria. Cyanobacterial blooms are well established as indicators of environmental degradation. Beyond the role as indicators, bloom forming Cyanobacteria by themselves are a serious threat to the functioning of aquatic ecosystems and resources and services provided by aquatic ecosystems. Because of their mechanical properties and the toxicity of several of them, harmful Cyanobacteria may seriously inhibit matter and energy transfer through the food webs. Dense aggregations of cyanobacterial biomass lead to chemical alterations of the water, including pH-changes and a subsequent shift from NH+-ions to toxic NH3, and the release of toxins from live cells and after cell lysis. This, in turn, can lead to animal kills and health hazards for humans via drinking water, consumption of fish, and recreational use. The planned Special Issue should summmarize recent advances in the monitoring, analysis, and prevention of harfmul cyanobacteria and their adverse effects on ecosystem functioning, food webs, and water quality. Among others, possible topics include the effects of cyanobacteria on water chemistry, deep water, and sediment anoxia, grazing inhibition, animal kills, biodiversity, ecological status, human health, and analyses of societal costs.

Prof. Dr. Maria Moustaka-Gouni
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sommer
Guest Editors

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020

Link to the webpage of the special issue.

Are Harmful Algal Blooms Becoming the Greatest Inland Water Quality Threat to Public Health and Aquatic Ecosystems?

From an ET&C Focus article by Brooks et al. (2016):

“In this Focus article, the authors ask a seemingly simple question: Are harmful algal blooms (HABs) becoming the greatest inland water quality threat to public health and aquatic ecosystems? When HAB events require restrictions on fisheries, recreation, and drinking water uses of inland water bodies significant economic consequences result. Unfortunately, the magnitude, frequency, and duration of HABs in inland waters are poorly understood across spatiotemporal scales and differentially engaged among states, tribes, and territories. Harmful algal bloom impacts are not as predictable as those from conventional chemical contaminants, for which water quality assessment and management programs were primarily developed, because interactions among multiple natural and anthropogenic factors determine the likelihood and severity to which a HAB will occur in a specific water body. These forcing factors can also affect toxin production. Beyond site-specific water quality degradation caused directly by HABs, the presence of HAB toxins can negatively influence routine surface water quality monitoring, assessment, and management practices. Harmful algal blooms present significant challenges for achieving water quality protection and restoration goals when these toxins confound interpretation of monitoring results and environmental quality standards implementation efforts for other chemicals and stressors. Whether HABs presently represent the greatest threat to inland water quality is debatable, though in inland waters of developed countries they typically cause more severe acute impacts to environmental quality than conventional chemical contamination events. The authors identify several timely research needs. Environmental toxicology, environmental chemistry, and risk-assessment expertise must interface with ecologists, engineers, and public health practitioners to engage the complexities of HAB assessment and management, to address the forcing factors for HAB formation, and to reduce the threats posed to inland surface water quality.”


Brooks, B. W., Lazorchak, J. M., Howard, M. D.A., Johnson, M.-V. V., Morton, S. L., Perkins, D. A.K., Reavie, E. D., Scott, G. I., Smith, S. A. and Steevens, J. A. (2016), Are harmful algal blooms becoming the greatest inland water quality threat to public health and aquatic ecosystems?. Environ Toxicol Chem, 35: 6–13. doi:10.1002/etc.3220


Microcystin-LR included in the proposed revision of the Drinking Water Directive !

The European Commission has issued a proposal for a Directive on the Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption. The proposal is a recast of Directive 98/83/EC, which was amended in 2003, 2009 and 2015.

Microcystin-LR is included in the proposal as a “Chemical Parameter”, with a parametric value of 1μg/L, along with other organic compounds that are added in the list (Bisphenol A, Haloacetic acids, Nonylphenol, PFAS). Performance criteria for determination of MC-LR are specified as 30% uncertainty at the parametric value, while methods should comply to the requirements of ISO 17025.

Inclusion of MC-LR in the proposed Directive is a result of increased occurrence of microcystins in European waters and beyond, as well as of increased awareness of the health risks and hazards associated with toxic cyanobacteria. CYANOCOST has significant contributions in this field, including two books on chemical analysis of cyanotoxins and molecular detection of toxigenic cyanobacteria and many joint parers on cyanotoxin research. Since 2012, CYANOCOST has also contributed in raising awareness of cyanotoxins in Europe; in this sense, the proposed Directive is rewarding of the vast amount of voluntarily work done within the Network and highlights the important societal impact of COST Actions.

The proposed Directive is under public consultation till 2 April 2018. You can download the related documents and submit your feedback here.



Post-doc modeling position at the Catalan Institute for Water Research


WATExR: “Climate Seasonal prediction for adapting water resources to extreme events”, an ERA4CS – JPI Climate project

Position location: Catalan Institute for Water Research, Girona, Spain. Working with Dr. Rafael Marcé, coordinator of the project

ICRA leads the WATExR project, an international projects including partners from Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Australia. The coordinating team at ICRA wishes to recruit a post-doctoral researcher with modeling and programming skills for a period of up to 31 months, who will have a central role in implementing the WATexR research project along with the international project team.  The researcher will be primarily based at the Catalan Institute for Water Research, Girona (Spain), reporting to Dr Rafael Marcé.

Climate extreme events, like heat waves, droughts and floods, stress ecosystems and compromise their capacity to provide key services related to water (e.g., decreasing streamflows, reduced capacity to process nutrients and organic matter, mobilization of pollutants, compromised fish stocks). However, despite the vulnerability of the water quality sector to climate change, there has been limited development of solution-oriented tools integrating Climate Services and ecosystem impacts modeling for efficient adaptation to climate extreme events. WATExR aims to integrate state-of-the-art climate seasonal prediction and water quality simulation in a QGIS-based advanced solution to ensure efficient decision making and adaptation of water resources management to an increased frequency of climate extreme events. This will be achieved by identifying end-user demands in 7 case studies in Europe and Australia relating to the impact of climate extreme events on water supply companies, fisheries, and water authorities implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Finally, WATExR will join the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP2), contributing a selected set of water quality impact models following the ISIMIP2 simulation protocol.

Full description here: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/267393DEADLINE for applications January 31st 2018.


Research Fellow, Water Quality Modelling

We seek an environmental modeller at the Australian Rivers Institute (Griffith University, Nathan Campus) to carry out research and manage a number of model applications for lakes and river basins, focusing attention on harmful algal blooms and generating scenarios to assist with bloom management and water quality restoration.

The role will be multidisciplinary, involving applications of models to integrate physical, chemical and biological processes, as well as interacting with social scientists and economists to extend the reach and relevance of model simulations.

The applicant should have demonstrated quantitative skills and have applied models as part of their PhD research. Experience with presenting model outputs and interacting with field practitioners and stakeholders would be valuable.

The Australian Rivers Institute within Griffith Sciences is one of Australia’s largest university aquatic ecosystem research groups with globally recognised expertise in river, catchment and coastal ecosystems and the interaction with these systems in society. It brings together 150 staff and post-graduate students at the Nathan and Gold Coast campuses.

The successful applicant will work in a research team led by Professors David Hamilton and Michele Burford. This team is committed to validating model applications using field and experimental data from lakes and river basins.

Enquiries to David Hamilton : david.p.hamilton@griffith.edu.au

See  the webpage with this job offer for more information.

This info was shared by Dr Eleanor Jennings, Chair of the NETLAKE COST Action.


Postdoc position: high frequency monitoring data – Ireland

A postdoc position is available for three years working on high frequency monitoring data from lakes and rivers, based in the Marine Institute facility in Mayo, Ireland and employed by Dundalk Institute of Technology (working with  Eleanor Jennings (DkIT) and Elvira de Eyto (MI)) on the BEYOND 2020 project.

See https://www.euraxess.ie/jobs/181690

PhD position with ICRA, Spain

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate for the development of chemometric tools for the detection of different compounds in waters matrices, including underground water, drinking water and wastewater. The PhD is in the framework of the Industrial Doctorates Plan co-funded by the Catalan Government. It will be carried out in a collaboration between the company, s::can Iberia Sistemas de Medición S.L.U (part of the s::can group http://www.s-can.at/) and a research centre ICRA, Catalan Institute for Water Research, http://www.icra.cat . This is an excellent opportunity to join a highly innovative environment that combines the academic supervision of the thesis with the mentoring of the company s::can Iberia as part of an employment contract. The position is for three years. The academic supervisors are Dr Oriol Gutierrez and Dr Wolfgang Gernjak (both ICRA) and the industry supervisor is Dr Jordi Raich (s::can Iberia Sistemas de Medición S.L.U.).

More information about the Industrial Doctorate Plan here: http://doctoratsindustrials.gencat.cat/en/pages/home

More information and applications here: http://www.icra.cat/ofertes/position-industrial-doctorate/71

This info was shared by E. Jennings, NETLAKE.