What is Lyngbya and where does it grow?

Lyngbya majuscula is a species of cyanobacteria (= blue-green algae). Lyngbya occurs naturally 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.

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, contact Council.

Council’s response to harmful algal blooms

Council's Harmful Algal Bloom Response Plan [PDF 735KB] provides a framework for effective and efficient responses to harmful algal blooms.

It assists Council to fulfil its regional and State obligations for mitigating the impacts of harmful algal blooms.

It outlines the responsibilities and delegates specific actions to particular Council Units in case a 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.

Detached Lyngbya
A detached piece of Lyngbya.
Washed up Lyngbya
Lyngbya washed up on the beach.
Floating Lyngbya
Floating Lyngbya mat.

back to top