Harmful algal blooms
Example of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)
At times, about three hundred species of microalgae occur in masses—referred to as 'algal blooms'—with nearly one quarter of these species producing toxins.
Harmful algal blooms (also referred to as 'phytoplankton blooms', 'microalgal blooms', 'toxic algae' or 'red tides') are common seasonal events occurring throughout Queensland in both fresh and coastal marine waters. Blooms caused by organisms including cyanobacteria, diatoms and dinoflagellates may pose a direct threat to human and animal health, and can have:
- economic impacts (e.g. significant increase in the cost of treating the water supply; need to use alternate supplies)
- social impacts (e.g. disruption of recreational use of the waterway)
- environmental effects on aquatic ecosystems.
To reduce the risk to humans, livestock and wildlife, state agencies, local government and water storage operators provide a coordinated response to harmful algal blooms under the Queensland Harmful Algal Bloom Response Plan (PDF, 434K)*. The Queensland Harmful Algal Bloom Operational Procedures (PDF, 277K)* support the response plan.
Monitoring of Lyngbya outbreaks
Harmful coastal algae blooms are regularly monitored. Up to date information and reports on outbreaks are available at monitoring updates.
Please direct any enquiries to the relevant agencies as outlined below.
|Enquiry||Response agency||Contact details|
|Marine/Estuarine||Department of Environment and Resource Management||
1300 130 372 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
|Freshwater Reservoir or Regulated Waters||Water Storage Operator||Responsible Water Storage Operator|
|Unsupplemented Systems (i.e. natural waters, rivers, streams, wetlands etc.)||Department of Environment and Resource Management||During Business Hours
District Supervising Hydrographers
|Urban Streams, Ornamental and/or Recreational Lake||Local Government||Contact Local Council Office|
|Primary Industries and Fisheries section of the Department of Employment, Economic, Development and Innovation||DEEDI Customer Call Centre phone: 13 25 23 (8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday)|
|Human Health||Queensland Health||
During Business Hours
If you have problems downloading any of these documents, or would like a copy mailed to you, please contact:
GPO Box 2454
Brisbane Queensland 4001
Phone: +61 7 3170 5545
Email: Glenn McGregor
* Requires Adobe Reader
Last updated 9 November 2011