Wetlands and shallow lakes are constructed worldwide to provide amenity and habitat, and in some instances to offset poor water quality in residential or industrial settings. In many locations, these constructed waterbodies are promoted as the solution to harmful algal blooms. But do they work? And if so, which design factors are most important?

In our latest research, led by PhD candidate Shuang Liu, we reviewed 66 global waterbody design guidelines to identify common design factors used to limit algal blooms. With this information, we then assessed specific design factors (and combinations of factors) against >200 shallow waterbodies with long-term algal field records in the Melbourne region.

Our analysis indicates that macrophyte cover, shoreline development index, and fetch are the three most influential waterbody design factors that limit algal blooms. In contrast, many other commonly used design factors had little impact.

Visit open access publication to learn more.

Many thanks to our co-authors Fiona Johnson, Bojan Tamburic, Nick Crosbie and William Glamore for their valuable contribution.

To learn more about projects under the NHASP Partnership supported by Melbourne Water, please click here.