What makes a cyanobacterial bloom disappear? A review of the abiotic and biotic cyanobacterial bloom loss factors

Ted D. Harris, Kaitlin L. Reinl, Marzi Azarderakhsh, Stella A. Berger, Manuel Castro Berman, Mina Bizic, Ruchi Bhattacharya, Sarah H. Burnet, Jacob A. Cianci-Gaskill, Lisette N. de Senerpont Domis, Inge Elfferich, K. Ali Ger, Hans-Peter F. Grossart, Bas W. Ibelings, Danny Ionescu, Zohreh Mazaheri Kouhanestani, Jonas Mauch, Yvonne R. McElarney, Veronica Nava* (Corresponding author), Rebecca L. NorthIgor Ogashawara, Ma. Cristina A. Paule-Mercado, Sara Soria-Píriz, Xinyu Sun, Jessica V. Trout-Haney, Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer, Kiyoko Yokota, Qing Zhan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Cyanobacterial blooms present substantial challenges to managers and threaten ecological and public health. Although the majority of cyanobacterial bloom research and management focuses on factors that control bloom initiation, duration, toxicity, and geographical extent, relatively little research focuses on the role of loss processes in blooms and how these processes are regulated. Here, we define a loss process in terms of population dynamics as any process that removes cells from a population, thereby decelerating or reducing the development and extent of blooms. We review abiotic (e.g., hydraulic flushing and oxidative stress/UV light) and biotic factors (e.g., allelopathic compounds, infections, grazing, and resting cells/programmed cell death) known to govern bloom loss. We found that the dominant loss processes depend on several system specific factors including cyanobacterial genera-specific traits, in situ physicochemical conditions, and the microbial, phytoplankton, and consumer community composition. We also address loss processes in the context of bloom management and discuss perspectives and challenges in predicting how a changing climate may directly and indirectly affect loss processes on blooms. A deeper understanding of bloom loss processes and their underlying mechanisms may help to mitigate the negative consequences of cyanobacterial blooms and improve current management strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102599
JournalHarmful Algae
Early online date29 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Research theme

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Sustainable water and land use


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