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Does climate change represent a challenge for polar Communities by Limiting their access to Drinking water? – COLDwater

Eutrophication processes and climate change are currently causing the appearance of massive blooms of cyanobacteria in almost all ecosystems and climates on Earth, making it a global problem. Cyanobacteria are common microorganisms in water bodies all over the planet, and, under certain situations, they grow massively.

The presence of cyanobacterial toxins and their producers has been already reported in different parts of the Arctic, especially in the European Arctic and in Antarctica. The risks arising from the presence of cyanobacteria and other potential hazardous microorganisms are high both because of the high frequency of their massive proliferations and because of the considerable lack of knowledge about the ecological processes that stimulate their blooms, which produce various cyanotoxins. Although risk quantification is key for a proper management, it is rarely carried out, mainly due to lack of knowledge and regulations. Arctic people, Antarctic expeditioners and wild fauna from polar regions deserve clean and safe water that complies with international standards of quality.

In COLDwater, we are interested in surveying how serious this threat could be for Arctic residents and Antarctic expeditioners. Also, the wild fauna, mainly reindeers, can be affected by this threat, and it cannot be assumed that the effects may not be extended throughout the polar food webs. Given the unpredictability of toxic bloom events, the development of tools to inform decision-making bodies considering the needs of the polar regions becomes essential to guarantee the economy and the sustainable growth of the population.





David Velázquez

Maria Cristina Casero

Samuel Cirés

Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (UAM), Dept. of Biology. Spain


Arja Rautio

University of Oulu, Thule

Institute and Faculty of Medicine.