Feedback on Apparent Pollution at Koutavos Lagoon

Koutavos Environmental Information Center, 
T.Th. 222, 28100 Argostoli, Kefalonia
Tel. & Fax: 26710 29258.
 E-mail:       Argostoli, 10.07.2020
 Website:      No. Prot .: 979
Lately, in the Lagoon of Koutavos, a strange image has been observed as “pollution” which has worried the local community. For this reason, the National Park Management Agency collected samples on Monday, July 6 and sent them to the Department of Biology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in the laboratory of Hydrobotany – Hydroecology.
Examination of the fixed samples shows that:
    1. The mucous-colored mass on the surface of the water is an advanced stage of accumulated mucus produced by microalgae and cyanobacteria. Plenty of phytoplankton and protozoan cells were observed in and around the mucus, as well as abundant venous diatoms.
    2. The advanced stage of accumulated mucus is indicated by the huge number of protozoa that have colonized the mucus and consume part of it with the contained microorganisms. We also identified many phytoplankton cells in solution.
    3. It is very likely that the mucus was formed by the overgrowth of benthic cross-sections and phytoplankton microorganisms that have the ability to produce mucus and were found in the mucus and out in the water.
    4. These potential mucus producers are the Nitzschia and Navicula diatomaceous earths with the possible participation of Cylindrotheca (peritoneal) phytoplankton and granular cyanobacteria with the most abundant Chroococcus type.
For a more reliable assessment of the succession of ecological processes that preceded and led to the phenomenon of the mucosal surface, monitoring of these microorganisms should have preceded at least the last two months. Regarding the composition of microorganisms in mucus and water, the two samples tested for known toxic species were not recorded.
The phenomenon is also known as “dirty sea” and is not pollution. They are mucous formations with microorganisms and fragments. The circulation of water in combination with the meteorological conditions favored the appearance of mucus on the surface of the water. It is the accumulation of biological material, mainly mucus, produced by some very abundant microorganisms that live in the water and at the bottom of the lagoon. These microorganisms are not known to be toxic. The mucous mass appears to be in the process of decomposition.
We would like to warmly thank Professor Maria Moustaka as well as the Associate Professor Mr. Antonis Mazaris of the Department of Biology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, for their prompt response and invaluable assistance.
Sample collection by the staff of the Ainos National Park Management Agency.
The Chairman of the Board of 
Ainos National Park Management Agency
Dr. George Drakatos
Director of Research 
Athens National Observatory

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