Inland Waters, Vol 6, No 2 (2016)

Do persistent organic pollutants stimulate cyanobacterial blooms?

Theodore Daniel Harris, Val H Smith
Pages: 124-130

Abstract

The use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as herbicides, pesticides, pharmaceutical and personal care products (PCPPs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), has more than doubled since 1950. POPs find their way into aquatic ecosystems through agricultural and industrial runoff, wastewater treatment effluent discharge, and atmospheric deposition. Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs), which can produce toxins potent enough to cause human death, have been increasing in intensity, frequency, and spatial scale throughout the same time period as accelerated POP usage. Here, we provide a meta-analysis and suggest that POP stressors may be significantly aggravating nutrient-driven CyanoHABs by suppressing the growth of competing phytoplankton, and/or by indirectly or directly stimulating cyanobacterial growth.
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