Evaluation of indicators for cyanobacterial risk in 108 temperate lakes using 23 years of environmental monitoring data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Cyanobacterial blooms are of increasing concern for drinking water supply. In Sweden, a survey among drinking water producers showed that the sense of urgency was little. At 60% of the Swedish drinking water treatment plants, operators lacked monitoring strategies. To get a picture of the size of the problem the presence of cyanobacterial risk in 108 Swedish lakes was evaluated from 23 years of environmental monitoring data. The drivers and indicators for cyanobacterial growth were investigated by analyzing water quality in 9 lakes that have more frequent cyanobacteria bio-volume above the WHO drinking water alert level 1: 0.2 mm3L−1. Results: The study shows that the most common species in those lakes are Anabaena/Dolichospermum and Aphanizomenon followed by Microcystis, Woronichinia and Planktothrix, which can produce a variety of toxins such as anatoxins, cylindrospermopsins, microcystins and saxitoxins, supported by literature study. Our results show that cyanobacterial risk in those problematic 9 lakes are mainly nutrients driven with possibly contribution of increased organic matter. By applying non-linear quantile regression with total phosphorus (TP) as an example, we demonstrated that certain drivers such as TP can be useful for cyanobacterial risk assessment and provide control measures by setting nutrients targets. We also evidenced that cyanobacterial peaks presented at low TN:TP ratio while not necessarily vice versa. We also further evaluated that chlorophyll-a and transparency might be suitable as indicators for cyanobacterial blooms in certain lakes, while for most of the lakes, their connection is low. Conclusion: Nutrients are main drivers for higher cyanobacterial occurrence in the 9 lakes. We suggest TP concentrations should be investigated thoroughly to provide important knowledge which can be used to set nutrient targets to sustain safe drinking water supply and recreational services. The complexity of indicating cyanobacterial risk in a local condition was also highlighted in this study and future study is suggested. To classify different types of lake and identify their drivers and the similarities of species composition changes in those lakes will be future studied.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Swedish Defense Research Agency
  • National Food Agency
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology

Keywords

  • Cyanobacteria, Cyanotoxins, Nonlinear quantile regression, Total phosphorus
Original languageEnglish
Article number54
JournalEnvironmental Sciences Europe
Volume33
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes