91356 - Harmful Algal Blooms and Biotoxins

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Ravenna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Marine Biology (cod. 8857)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will acquire competence on algal species that cause environmental problems (species producing toxins or other harmful substances, invasive organisms, or able to cause excessive proliferation) and on the dynamics leading to negative effects on the environment and on the human health. Students will learn the main methods of monitoring and management of harmful species and any mitigation methods.

Course contents

Main problems related to the presence of harmful algae: blooms of microalgae (organisms involved, consequences for the environment and for humans, abiotic and biotic triggers); biointoxications and toxic algae (distribution, biology of the main groups, cell cycles, growth and nutrition strategies, chemical structure of toxins, mechanisms of action, relationship with other organisms, allelochemical interactions). Cyanobacteria and water treatments. Effects of climate change on the presence of algae. Methods of determination of toxins and problems related to their determination. Molecular methods for the classification and identification of algae and their use in monitoring activities.


Ecology of Harmful Algae, Graneli e Turner, Springer

Handbook of Microalgal culture. Applied phycology and biotechnology. Richmond e Hu. Wiley Blackwell

Teaching methods

The course includes 16 hours of lectures and 12 hours of practice. The practical part is carried out in the didactic laboratories and foresee the preparation of algal cultures for the development of a toxicity test with a standard method.

Assessment methods

Oral exam aimed at verifying the learning of the topics covered in class.

Teaching tools

Powerpoint slides will be used for the lectures, and scientific articles of relevance on some topics will be used and commented.

Office hours

See the website of Laura Pezzolesi


Good health and well-being Clean water and sanitation Climate Action Oceans

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.