Identificationof Common Noxious Cyanobacteria

PartII – Chroococcales Oscillatoriales

ReportNo WSAA 46


October 1992




Thisreport is the second and final in a series containing the results of aninvestigation on the taxonomy of noxious blue-green algae(Cyanophyta/Cyanobacteria) in Australian water supplies, funded by the UrbanWater Research Association of Australia. Part I of the report was published inJune 1991.


Thepurpose of the project was to morphologically characterise common noxious ornuisance forms of cyanobacteria in Australian water supplies and to establishcriteria by which they can be recognised and reliably identified by lightmicroscopy. Particular attention was directed to those forms which are able toform water blooms or unsightly surface scums and may impair water quality bythe production of toxins or taste and odour compounds.


Thebasis for this project was founded on the need to differentiate betweeninoffensive and noxious forms of cyanobacteria for efficient water quality management. Water supplyauthorities throughout Australia require a practical guide to theidentification of troublesome cyanobacteria encountered locally and need to beable to relate them to existing taxa in the published literature. A final report,in two parts, has been prepared in the form of a practical reference,incorporating descriptions, illustrations, photo-micrographs and identificationkeys to assist laboratory personnel involved in phytoplankton monitoring.


Cyanobacterialblooms can adversely affect the suitability of water for human consumption,stock watering and recreational use. As there are indications of increasingabundance of these blooms in Australian waters, this issue was seen to be ofnational significance.


PartII of the report provides taxonomic descriptions of commonly occurringplanktonic and bloom-forming cyanobacteria from the families Microcystaceae(order Chroococcales) and Phormidiaceae and Pseudanabaenaceae (orderOscillatoriales), based on the revised classification system of Anagnostiis& Komarek (1986, 1988). Specimens were collected from surface waters inSouth Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland. Atotal of 17 recognised taxa are described from 9 genera. In Part 1, 20 taxa ofnoxious cyanobacteria in 5 genera of the family Nostocaceae (order Nostrocales)were described from the same geographical area.


Identificationkeys are provided for genera within each family and to species or subspecieslevel within each genus. None of the described taxa are endemic to Australiaand most are considered cosmopolitan in distribution. Several taxa aredescribed for the first time in Australia and approximately 300 originalillustrations are included in Parts I and II.


Furtherstudy should be directed toward resolving problems in the classification ofcertain described forms which do not fit the morphological description ofexisting taxa and to determine whether discernible morphological differences ofdescribed taxa represent actual genetic differences.


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