Risky rivers: benthic cyanobacterial blooms and toxin production Event as iCalendar

28 May 2018

1 - 2pm

Venue: Mac 1, Biology Building

Location: 5 Symonds Street, Auckland Central

Host: SBS

Contact info: Kim Handley

Contact email: kim.handley@auckland.ac.nz

Speaker: Dr Susie Wood, Coastal and Freshwater Group, Cawthron Institute, Nelson

Some benthic cyanobacteria form mats that can smother the entire bottom of waterbodies and may stretch for many kilometres in rivers. Cyanobacteria can also produce potent toxins that kill numerous animals worldwide and endanger human health.  

Blooms of the benthic neurotoxin-producing cyanobacterium Phormidium are increasing in prevalence in cobble-bed rivers in New Zealand. This is of particular concern when these rivers are used as drinking water sources or for recreation. 

In this seminar, Dr Wood will detail research that aimed to identify what makes a river susceptible to Phormidium blooms at a national scale, and factors that promote proliferations at a regional, river and mat scale. Toxin concentrations within mats vary markedly between and within rivers. Dr Wood and colleagues used a suite of chemical and molecular techniques, coupled with laboratory and field studies to explore this phenomena.