Cyanobacteria in Slovenia
Cyanobacteria are a special group of bacteria that perform photosynthesis (a reaction that releases oxygen into the environment). Various photosynthetic pigments give them a characteristic blue-green colour, similar to microscopic algae. They are present in almost all aquatic ecosystems (e.g., rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds), but can also be found on land.
Cyanobacteria are extremely important for the functioning of the ecosystem, as they provide food for all higher organisms, bind greenhouse gases and participate in the nitrogen cycle. The problem arises when cyanobacteria proliferate and cover the water surface, visible as green or brown scum. Some species of cyanobacteria can produce toxic substances – cyanotoxins – that can be dangerous to humans and animals. In addition, cyanobacterial blooms can cause oxygen depletion in the water and block sunlight, disrupting the ecosystem balance, sometimes resulting in massive fish kills.
To protect human and animal health, it is therefore important to monitor cyanobacteria nationwide, and citizens can play an important role in these efforts.
The aim of the project is to monitor the occurence of potentially toxic cyanobacterial blooms in surface waters in Slovenia in order to (i) provide timely warnings to the citizens in case of a health threat, (ii) collect information for future research of cyanobacteria, (iii) gather observations that can help improve water and risk management, and (iv) raise awareness about cyanobacteria, nutrient pollution and other water-related issues.
How to participate
If you notice a green, brown, or red layer on the surface of the water or a large number of dead fish, it may be a sign of potentially toxic cyanobacteria. Use the form on the website to submit a photo and the location of the water body to researchers, who will collect a sample as soon as possible and assess the risk for potentially toxic cyanobacteria. When observing and photographing areas with cyanobacteria, be careful not to expose yourself or your pets to cyanotoxins - guidelines can be found on the website. Results will be shared with you once the analyses are complete, and you can find all observations to date on the interactive map on the project website.
A phone or a camera.
Funding bodies: Slovenian Research Agency (ARIS)
Surface waterbodies in Slovenia (lakes, ponds, rivers, streams …)