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The Biodiversity and Environment Institute (BIOMA) will investigate the impact of the presence of toxic algae in the rivers and reservoirs of the Ebro basin in Navarre.

The research will make it possible to understand the impact of cyanobacteria on human health, ecosystems, agriculture and drinking water supply.

/Yasser Morera

25 | 01 | 2024

The increase of harmful algae in reservoirs -especially the bloom of cyanobacteria- has a negative impact on water quality due to the toxins produced by this plant subject , which can cause harmful effects on people's health. This is the starting point of the study in which Yasser Morera, researcher of the Biodiversity and Environment Institute (BIOMA) of the University of Navarra, recently incorporated thanks to the Chair Campus Home of Sustainability.

Yasser has initiated a project of research to evaluate the current status of cyanobacteria and their proliferation in the rivers and reservoirs of the Ebro basin in Navarra and nearby areas.

"This project seeks to make a assessment from the chemical, biological and toxicological point of view with the goal to contribute to a sustainable management of water in a scenario of climate change, which may favor the increase of blooms," says Yasser Morera, researcher principal of project.

According to Yasser, in the coming months samples of water, sediments and particulate material will be taken in several rivers and reservoirs in Navarra -and other areas near the Ebro basin- where the presence and proliferation of cyanobacteria is already known, as is the case of the reservoirs of Yesa, El Val or González Lacasa, and the rivers Sadar, Elorz or Arga. The samples collected will be analyzed to identify the types of cyanobacteria present and to check their toxicity, and the possible consequences for human health, ecosystems, the Economics, the supply of drinking water to the population and for agriculture will be studied.  

For Morera, this research will contribute to "a more effective management of watersheds for agricultural or aquaculture purposes, as well as a better preparation of local authorities to face future scenarios of toxic algae blooms".

In addition, this project aims to raise public awareness of this problem, so that citizens take an active part in the identification of this subject of plants and their flowering, which would result in a better management of the resource water .

The Biodiversity and Environment Institute (BIOMA) of the University of Navarra and the business Navarra management de Alojamientos Estudiantiles Navarra SL. created in 2022 the "Chair Campus Home de Sostenibilidad" to promote research on subject environmental, as well as informative activities to provide knowledge and raise awareness in society about the care of nature and sustainability.