Analysis of water quality in marine and coastal systems

Physicochemical and biological parameters determination to quantify nutrients, monitor phytoplankton populations and detect contaminants in marine and coastal waters.

Coastal areas are regions of transition between the terrestrial and the ocean environment characterized by their high variability and wealth. Material inputs from the continent and physical processes such as wind, waves, tides and currents make biological productivity higher and chemical processes much more intense and dynamic than on the high seas. On the other hand, the impact of human pollution in these areas is very high, mainly due to the spills of urban and industrial waste that are thrown at sea.

This service includes:

  • Identification and diagnosis of the discoloration appearance in coastal waters caused by marine phytoplankton
  • Monitoring and analysis of coastal waters to detect phytoplankton proliferation or flowering water (blooms) and toxic algae
  • Coastal water pollution report
  • Study of marine organisms as bioindicators of the quality of marine and coastal water


Phytoplankton are vegetable microorganisms living in suspension in the water column. They are considered the basis of the food chain due to they are the main primary producers of the oceans. Coasts nutrients increase (also known as eutrophication) produces fast growth of these organisms, and discoloration can appear on the water column of the bathing area and alter its quality.

A research group from the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) and the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies (IMEDEA), a joint research institute between the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the UIB, work every year with different Balearic Islands local governments in detection and identification of algae and cyanobacteria that can generate proliferation at coasts. Toxicity analyses are also carried out on the responsible organisms, their biological and ecological characteristics, the possible causes that have triggered the process, and the consequences on the whole ecosystem.

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In collaboration with:

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