Microcystis aeruginosa

Microcystis aeruginosa is a single-celled, colonial cyanobacterium which often forms blooms in the warmer months of the year both in the Southern and Northern hemispheres. It is common in eutrophic waters and field trips to local sewage treatment plants and settling ponds usually yield a good sample of Microcystis. and other cyanobacteria. The bloom forming habit of this organism is a primary cause of many animal poisonings due to the accumulation of large amounts of Microcystis. "scum " on the shores of lakes, ponds and rivers. At the mercy of the prevailing winds, these scums can drift from shore to shore and are usually found on the windward side of a body of water, quite often making drinking water inaccessible for many animals. Ingestion of this concentrated material (which can often be several inches thick) usually leads to some symptoms of toxicty.

A Scanning Electon Micrograph of Microcystis aeruginosa . Kindly provided by Dr Colin Carbis.

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