Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Water Quality and Potentially Toxic Cyanobacteria during Drought Conditions in a Mesotrophic Reservoir Ecosystem

Main Article Content

Rapach Mengchouy
Charumas Meksumpun


A study of potentially toxic cyanobacteria in Ubolratana Reservoir was carried out in 2019, a year when serious drought conditions impacted the mesotrophic reservoir ecosystem. Correlations between environmental factors and cyanobacteria densities were analyzed for a better understanding of stimulating factors and improved management. Sampling was performed four times, during dry (April), early-rainy (June), mid-rainy (July) and late-rainy (August) seasons, and in three zones (riverine, transition, lacustrine). Eight genera of potentially toxic cyanobacteria were recorded: Cylindrospermopsis, Pseudanabaena, Anabaena, Aphanocapsa, Microcystis, Oscillatoria, Planktolyngbya and Merismopedia. The dominant taxa in all zones were Cylindrospermopsis, Pseudanabaena, and Anabaena, with maximum densities of 142,110, 82,000, and 43,800 cells∙L-1, respectively. The highest total density (220,250 cells∙L-1) occurred during the dry season in the transition zone. Densitiy in the riverine zone had a significant negative relationship (p<0.05) with total suspended solids (TSS), while density in the transition zone had a highly significant negative relationship (p<0.01) with TSS and a significant negative relationship (p<0.05) with dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN). This study highlights the need to monitor risk from increasing abundance of potentially toxic cyanobacteria in water bodies during continuous drought conditions. Increases of TSS in particular areas during the rainy season may help to decrease the density of potentially toxic cyanobacteria in the reservoir ecosystem. Accordingly, to prevent the potential hazard of toxins to human health, the inflow (with more turbid waters) is of crucial importance for effective management.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details



Arfi, R. 2003. The effects of climate and hydrology on the trophic status of Sélingué Reservoir, Mali, West Africa. Lakes and Reservoirs: Research and Management 8(3-4): 247-257.

Aroonvilairat, S., W. Ruangyuttikarn, J. Pekkoh, Y. Peerapornpisal, X. Shen, W. Wickramasinghe and G. Shaw. 2008. Identification and hepatotoxicity of microcystin-LR isolated from Microcystis aeruginosa Kütz. in Huay Yuak Reservoir Chiang Mai Province. Chiang Mai University Journal of Natural Sciences 7(1): 149-162.

Baldia, S.F., M.C.G. Conaco, T. Nishijima, S. Imanishi and K.I. Harada. 2003. Microcystin production during algal bloom occurrence in Laguna de bay, the Philippines. Fisheries Science 69: 110-116.

Benayache, N., T. Nguyen-Quang, K. Hushchyna, K. Mclellan, F.Z. Afri-Mehennaoui and N. Bouaicha. 2019. An overview of cyanobacteria harmful algal bloom (CyanoHAB) issues in Freshwater Ecosystems. In: Limnology (ed. D. Gokce), pp. 13-37. Intech Open, London, UK.

Berg, M. and M. Sutula. 2015. Factors Affecting the Growth of Cyanobacteria with Special Emphasis on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Technical Report 869, California, USA. 100 pp.

Berger, C., N. Ba, M. Gugger, M. Bouvy, F. Rusconi, A. Coute, M. Troussellier and C. Bernard. 2006. Seasonal dynamics and toxicity of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii in Lake Guiers (Senegal, West Africa). Microbial Ecology 57: 355-366. DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2006.00141.x.

Bernard, C., A. Ballot, S. Thomazeau, S. Maloufi, A. Furey, J. Mankiewicz‐Boczek, B. Pawlik‐Skowrońska, C. Capelli and N. Salmaso. 2016. Appendix 2: Cyanobacteria associated with the production of cyanotoxins. In: Handbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis (eds. J. Meriluoto, L. Spoof and G.A. Codd), pp. 501-525. John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., New Jersey, USA.

Bittencourt-Oliveira, M.C., V. Piccin-Santos, A.N. Moura, N.K.C. Aragao-Tavares and M.K. Cordeiro-Araujo. 2014. Cyanobacteria, microcystins and cylindrospermopsin in public drinking supply reservoir of Brazil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 86: 297-309.

Bouvy, M., D. Falcao, M. Marinho, M. Pagano and A. Moura. 2000. Occurrence of Cylindrospermopsis (Cyanobacteria) in 39 Brazilian tropical reservoirs during the 1998 drought. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 23: 13-27.

Bouvy, M., R.J.R. Molica, S.D. Oliveira, M. Marinho and B. Beker. 1999. Dynamics of a toxic cyanobacteria bloom (Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii) in shallow reservoir in the semi-arid region of northeast Brazil. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 20: 285-297.

Briand, J.F., C. Robillot, C. Quiblier-Lioberas, J.F. Humbert, A. Coute and C. Bernard. 2002. Environmental context of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii (Cyanobacteria) bloom in shallow pond in France. Water Research 36: 3183-3192.

Butterwick, C., S.I. Heaney and J.F. Talling. 2005. Diversity in the influence of temperature on the growth rates of freshwater algae, and its ecological relevance. Freshwater Biology 50(2): 291-300.

Carmichael, W.W. and G.L. Boyer. 2016. Health impacts from cyanobacteria harmful algae blooms: Implications for the North American Great Lakes. Harmful Algae 54: 194-212.

Carr, N.G. and B.A. Whitton. 1982. The Biology of Cyanobacteria, 2nd ed. Blackwell Scientific Publishing, Oxford, UK. 105 pp.

Chorus, I. 2001. Introduction: Cyanotoxins-research for environmental safety and human health. In: Cyanotoxins-Occurrence, Causes, Consequences (ed. I. Chorus), pp. 1-4. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Chorus, I. and J. Bartram. 1999. Toxic Cyanobacteria in Water: A Guide to their Public Health Consequences, Monitoring and Management. E & FN Spon on Behalf of the World Health Organization, London, UK. 416 pp.

Dokulil, M.T. and K. Teubner. 2000. Cyanobacterial dominance in lake. Hydrobiologia 438: 1-12.

Dufour, P., G. Sarazin, C. Quiblier, S. Sane and C. Leboulanger. 2006. Cascading nutrient limitation of the cyanobacterium Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii in a Sahelian lake (North Senegal). Aquatic Microbial Ecology 44: 219-230.

Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). 1996. Water Quality Monitoring in Ubolratana Reservoir. Report Number 61302-02-3902. Environmental Technique Division, Environmental Unit, Nonthaburi, Thailand.

Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). 2019. History of the Ubolratana Reservoir, Thailand. Cited 8 Dec 2019.

Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). 2020. History of the Ubolratana Reservoir, Thailand. Cited 8 Jan 2020.

Elliott, J.A. 2012. Is the future blue-green? A review of the current model predictions of how climate change could affect pelagic freshwater cyanobacteria. Water research 46: 1364-1371.

Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT). 2018. Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2017. Cited 26 Jan 2021.

Evtimova, V.V. and I. Donohue. 2014. Quantifying ecological responses to amplified water level fluctuations in standing waters: An experimental approach. Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 1282-1291.

Figueredo, C.C. and A. Giani. 2009. Phytoplankton community in the tropical lake of Lagoa Santa (Brazil): Conditions favoring a persistent bloom of Cylindrospermopsis raciborkii. Limnologica 39: 264-272.

Funari, E. and E. Testai. 2008. Human health risk assessment related to cyanotoxins exposure. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 38(2): 97-125.

Ghosh, S.K., P.K. Das and S.N. Bagchi. 2008. PCR-based detection of microcystin-producing cyanobacterial bloom from Central India. Indian Journal Experimental Biology 46: 66-70.

Gobler, C.J., J.M. Burkholder, T.W. Davis, M.J. Harke, T. Johengen, C.A. Stow and W.D. Van. 2016. The dual role of nitrogen supply in controlling the growth and toxicity of cyanobacterial blooms. Harmful Algae 54: 87-97.

Gondwe, M.J., S.J. Guildford and R.E. Hecky. 2007. Planktonic nitrogen fixation in Lake Malawi/Nyasa. Hydrobiologia 596: 251-267.

Hilborn, E. and V. Beasley. 2015. One health and cyanobacteria in freshwater systems: animal illnesses and deaths are sentinel events for human health risks. Toxins 7(4): 1374-1395.

Ingthamjitr, S., B. Sricharoendham, D. Simon and F. Schiemer. 2008. Catchment characteristic, hydrology, limnology and socioeconomic features of Ubolratana reservoir in Thailand. In: Aquatic Ecosystems and Development: Comparative Asian perspectives (eds. F. Schiemer, D. Simon, U. Amarasinghe and J. Moreau), pp. 45-62. Royal Holloway, University of London, London, UK.

Kallas, T., T. Coursin and R. Rippka. 1985. Different organization of nif genes in nonheterocystous and heterocystous cyanobacteria. Plant Molecular Biology 5: 321-329.

Khuantrairong, T. and S. Traichaiyaporn. 2008. Diversity and seasonal succession of the phytoplankton community in Doi Tao Lake, Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand. Natural History Journal Chulalongkorn University 8: 143-156.

Komárek, J. and K. Anagnostidis. 2005. Cyanoprokaryota. 2. Oscillatoriales. In: Süsswasserflora von Mitteleuropa 19/2 (eds. B. Büdel, L. Krienitz, G. Gärtner and M. Schagerl), pp. 1-759. Springer Spektrum, Heidelberg, Germany.

Lehman, P.W., S.J. Teh, G.L. Boyer, M.L. Nobriga, E. Bass and C. Hogle. 2010. Initial impacts of Microcystis aeruginosa blooms on the aquatic food web in the San Francisco Estuary. Hydrobiologia 637: 229-248.

Mahakhant, A., T. Sano, P. Ratanachot, T. Tong-a-ram, V.C. Srivastava, M.M. Watanabe and K. Kaya. 1998. Detection of microcystins from cyanobacterial water blooms in Thailand freshwater. Phycological Research 46: 25-29.

McGregor, G.B. and L.D. Fabbro. 2000. Dominance of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii (Nostocales, Cyanoprokaryota) in Queensland tropical and subtropical reservoirs: Implications for monitoring and management. Lake and Reservoir: Research and Management 5: 195-205.

Meesukku, C., N. Gajaseni, Y. Peerapornpisal and A. Voinov. 2007. Relationship between seasonal variation and phytoplankton dynamics in Kaeng Krachan Reservoir, Phetchaburi Province, Thailand. Natural History Journal Chulalongkorn University 7: 131-143.

Mengchouy, R. and C. Meksumpun. 2019. Impacts of climate and hydro-ecological changes on abundance and composition of phytoplankton in a mesotrophic reservoir ecosystem: A case study in Ubolratana, the most productive reservoir in the North Eastern Thailand. Proceedings of the CWMD Conference 2019: 675-684.

Miller, T., L. Beversdorf, C. Weirich and S. Bartlett. 2017. Cyanobacterial toxins of the Laurentian Great Lakes, their toxicological effects, and numerical limits in drinking water. Marine Drugs 15(6): 160. DOI: 10.3390/md15060160.

Mitrovic, S.M., B.C. Chessman, L.C. Bowling and R.H. Cooke. 2006. Modelling suppression of cyanobacterial blooms by flow management in a lowland river. River Research and Applications 22 (1): 109-114.

Moura, A.D.N., N.K.C. Aragão-Tavares and C.A. Amorim. 2018. Cyanobacterial blooms in freshwater bodies from a semiarid region, Northeast Brazil: A review. Journal of Limonology 77(2): 179-188.

Mowe, M.A.D., S.M. Mitrovic, R.P. Lim, A. Furey and D.C.J. Yeo. 2015. Tropical cyanobacteria blooms: a review of prevalence, problem taxa, toxins and influencing environmental factors. Limnology Journal 74(2): 205-224.

Muangsringam, J., C. Meksumpun and R. Mengchouy. 2019. Impacts of drought condition in Ubolratana reservoir ecosystem on increment of toxic cyanobacteria. Burapha Science Journal 24(3): 1283-1296.

O’neil, J.M., T.W. Davis, M.A. Burford and C.J. Gobler. 2012. The rise of harmful cyanobacteria blooms: The potential roles of eutrophication and climate change. Harmful Algae 14: 313-334.

Oliver, R.L., D.P. Hamilton, J.D. Brookes and G.G. Ganf. 2012. Physiology, blooms and prediction of planktonic cyanobacteria. In: Ecology of Cyanobacteria II: Their Diversity in Space and Time (ed. B.A. Whitton.), pp. 155-194. Springer, New York, USA.

Onyema, I.C. 2010. Phytoplankton diversity and succession in the Iyagbe lagoon, Lagos. European Journal of Scientific Research 43: 61-74.

Paerl, H.W. 2014. Mitigating harmful cyanobacterial blooms in a human-and climatically-impacted world. Life 4(4): 988-1012.

Paerl, H.W. and J. Huisman. 2008. Blooms like it hot. Science 320: 57-58.

Paerl, H.W. and T.G. Otten. 2013. Harmful cyanobacterial blooms: Causes, consequences, and controls. Microbial Ecology 65: 995-1010.

Paerl, H.W., R.S. Fulton, P.H. Moisander and J. Dyble. 2001. Harmful freshwater algal blooms, with an emphasis on cyanobacteria. The Scientific World Journal 1: 76-113.

Parsons, T. R., Y. Maita and C.M. Lalli. 1984. A Manual of Chemical and Biological Methods for Seawater Analysis. Pergamon Press, Oxford, UK. 173 pp.

Peerapornpisal, Y. 2015. Freshwater Algae in Thailand. Applied algal research laboratory, microbiology section, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. 435 pp.

Peerapornpisal, Y., W. Sonthichai, M. Sukchotiratana, S. Lipigorngoson, W. Ruangyuttikarn, K. Ruangrit, J. Pekkoh, R. Prommana, N. Panuvanitchakorn, N. Ngernpat, S. Kiatpradab and S. Promkutkaew. 2002. Survey and monitoring of toxic cyanobacteria in water resources for water supplies and fisheries in Thailand. Chiang Mai Journal of Science 29(2): 71-79.

Qian, K., M. Dokulil, and Y. Chen. 2019. Do the regular annual extreme water level changes affect the seasonal appearance of Anabaena in Poyang Lake? PeerJ Life and Environment 7: e6608. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.6608.

Rapala, J., K. Sivonen, R. Luukkainen and S.I. Niemela. 1993. Anatoxin-a concentration in Anabaena and Aphanizomenon at different environmental conditions and comparison of growth by toxic and non-toxic Anabaena strains, a laboratory study. Journal of Applied Phycology 5: 581-591.

Rippka, R. and J.B. Waterbury. 1977. The synthesis of nitrogenase by non-heterocystous cyanobacteria. FEMS Microbiology Letters 2: 83-86.

Royal Thai Government. 2014. DDPM: 9 Provinces affected by Drought. https:// Cited 26 Jan 2021.

Rustadi, R. Kuwabara and H.N. Kamiso. 2002. Water quality and planktological approach to monitor eutrophication by cage culture of red tilapia (Oreochomis sp.) at the Sermo Reservoir, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Asian Fisheries Science 15: 135-144.

Schindler, S., F.H. O’Neill, M. Biró, C. Damm, V. Gasso, R. Kanka, T.V.D. Sluis, A. Hrug, S.G. Lauwaars, Z. Sebesvari, M. Pusch, B. Baranovsky, T. Ehlert, B. Neukirchen, J.R.Martin, K. Euller, V. Mauerhofer and T. Wrbka. 2016. Multifunctional floodplain management and biodiversity effects: A knowledge synthesis for six European countries. Biodiversity and Conservation 25: 1349-1382. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1129-3.

Sekadende, B.C., T.J. Lyimo and R. Kurmayer. 2005. Microcyatin production by cyanobacteria in the Mwanza Gulf (Lake Victoria, Tanzania). Hydrobiology 543: 299-304.

Sitoki, L., R. Kurmayer and E. Rott. 2012. Spatial variation of phytoplankton composition, biovolume and resulting microcystin concentrations in the Nyanza Gulf (Lake Victoria, Kenya). Hydrobiologia 691: 109-122.

Soares, M.C.S., V.L. Huszar, M.N. Miranda, M.M. Mello, F. Roland and M. Lürling. 2013. Cyanobacterial dominance in Brazil: Distribution and environmental preferences. Hydrobiologia 717: 1-12.

Somdee, T., K. Kaewkhiaw and A. Somdee. 2013. Detection of toxic cyanobacteria and quantifi cation of microcystins in four recreational water reservoirs in Khon Kaen, Thailand. KKU Research Journal 18(1): 1-8.

Sprober, P., H.M. Shafik, M. Presing, A.W. Kovacs and S. Herodek. 2003. Nitrogen uptake and fixation in the cyanobacterium Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii under different nitrogen conditions. Hydrobiologia 506-509: 169-174.

Thai Meteorological Department (TMD). 2019. Meteorological and hydrological. Cited 10 Oct 2019.

Watanabe, M.M., X. Zhang and K. Kaya. 1996. Fate of toxic cyclic heptapeptides, microcystins, in toxic cyanobacteria upon grazing by the mixotrophic flagellate Poterioochromonas malhamensis (Ochromonadales, Chrysophyceae). Phycologia 35(6): 203-206.

World Health Organization (WHO). 2003. Guidelines for Safe Recreational Water Environments: Volume 1: Coastal and Fresh waters. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. 253 pp.

Zenkoji, S., T. Taichi and D. Kentaro. 2019. Rainfall and reservoirs situation under the worst drought recorded in the upper Chao Phraya River Basin, Thailand. Journal of Japan Society of Civil Engineers Ser G (Environmental Research) 75(5): 115-124. DOI: 10.2208/jscejer.75.I 115.