What is Lyngbya and where does it grow?
Lyngbya majuscula is a species of cyanobacteria (= blue-green algae) that naturally occur in Moreton Bay. Commonly found attached to seagrass beds, it grows in fine cotton wool-like strands 10 to 30cm in length.
Causes of Lyngbya blooms
A number of environmental factors lead to rapid growth or blooms of Lyngbya. Increased Lyngbya growth requires water temperatures over 24°C and favourable light conditions.
Lyngbya growth also requires elevated levels of phosphorus, nitrogen, bio-available iron and dissolved organic matter in the water column.
Consequently, Lyngbya blooms only occur during the summer months under optimal growing conditions. The wool-like strands often clump together and rise to the surface forming large floating mats.
Coordinated approach to reduce Lyngbya blooms
Moreton Bay Regional Council is one of several local governments in South East Queensland which, along with State Government agencies, provide funding for research into the ongoing occurrence of Lyngbya and into a better understanding of the effects of landuse on Lyngbya blooms.
This information will assist Council in mitigating the occurrence of Lyngbya blooms through appropriate planning and management practices.
Council's Lyngbya Management Strategy [PDF 310KB] is part of a coordinated approach to improve management and mitigate the occurrence of Lyngbya blooms through a partnership involving Council, the State Government, researchers and local interest and environmental groups.
Actions in the Strategy include:
- Improving land use management practices to reduce the input of materials and substances that may trigger a bloom
- Supporting regional and State-wide scientific research
- Providing information about Lyngbya to residents and visitors
- A contingency plan to respond to Lyngbya material washed up on beaches
Council’s response to Lyngbya deposition on beaches
Council's Lyngbya Bloom Response Plan [PDF 1.1MB] provides a framework for effective and efficient responses to Lyngbya blooms.
It assists Council to fulfill its regional and State obligations for mitigating the impacts of Lyngbya blooms.
It outlines the responsibilities and delegates specific actions to particular Council Units in case a Lyngbya bloom affects beaches or other areas under Council’s control.
Specific actions include activating and erecting warning signs, clean up procedures and circulation of appropriate media releases.
Avoid contact with Lyngbya
Lyngbya material originating from floating mats sometimes washes up on beaches in large quantities. When people come into direct contact with Lyngbya, either in the water or on land, the toxins present in the cyanobacteria can cause skin or eye irritation.
Therefore it is recommended to avoid all contact with algal material on the beach or in the water where Lyngbya is suspected to be present.
Sightings of Lyngbya material on beaches can be reported to Council, see contact Council.
A detached piece of Lyngbya.
Lyngbya washed up on the beach.
Floating Lyngbya mat.