Rainer KurmayerRainer Kurmayer


Present position:

Senior Scientist, Associate Professor,
Deputy Head of Research Institute
Head of working group "Molecular ecology and ecophysiology of algae (cyanobacteria)"

Research area:

Molecular physiology, ecology and evolution of toxin-producing cyanobacteria



+43 512 507-50242



Employment History · Research · Staff · Projects · Teaching · Publications · Memberships

Employment History


  • Nov 2014- present: Associate Professor at the Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee, University of Innsbruck; University Docent at the University of Vienna, Faculty of Life Sciences (since 2007)

  • June 2013 – Oct. 2014: Assistant Professor at the Research Institute for Limnology, Mondsee, University of Innsbruck

  • Sept 1, 2012 - May, 2013: Senior scientist at the Research Institute for Limnology, Mondsee, University of Innsbruck

  • 2007-Aug 31, 2012: Senior scientist at the Institute for Limnology in Mondsee, Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • 2001-2007: Junior scientist at the Institute for Limnology in Mondsee, Austrian Academy of Sciences

  • 1999-2001: Post doc position at the Federal Environmental Agency and Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

  • 1997-1999: PhD fellow at the University of Vienna, Doc fellowship by the Austrian Academy of Sciences



Molecular physiology, ecology and evolution of toxin-producing cyanobacteria

Harmful algal blooms formed by cyanobacteria (cyanoHABs) are a global phenomenon observed both in fresh and brackish water. The human society is facing a couple of toxic compounds (“cyanotoxins”; e.g. the microcystins) of different chemical structure that are produced by several genera (Microcystis, Planktothrix, Anabaena), with some of them leading to outbreaks and diseases in livestock and humans.


Sampling of Planktothrix blooms in lakes in the Alps, Photo: R. Kurmayer


It is a challenge to identify the factors leading to toxic outbreaks which is due to the development of toxic ecotypes carrying the genes for the production of a certain toxin.  am interested in physiological and ecological regulation of toxin production as well as evolutionary questions.

The elucidation of the genes involved in the synthesis of these toxins paved the way to

(i) Explore time scales and mechanisms in the evolution of responsible genes involved in cyanoHAB formation.

(ii) Postulate hypotheses about factors driving the innovation of toxin synthesis

(i)  Forecast the ecological fitness of toxic/non-toxic genotypes during cyanoHAB development


Microcystis bloom formation in Nyanza Gulf (L. Victoria), Photo: R. Kurmayer


Answering these questions would help to understand whether the  biodiversity and evolution of cyanotoxins is favored by the  global increase of cyanoHAB formation. These questions are  addressed by integrating the ecology, physiology and the genetic analysis of ecotypes through a comprehensive field and laboratory research program.


MOBILOMICS, “Mobilomics of toxin production in cyanobacteria”, Austrian Science Fund, FWF P24070, (2012-2015), http://www.uibk.ac.at/limno/research/projects/mobilomics/

PhD fellowship Austrian Academy of Sciences (Elisabeth Entfellner): Toward an Understanding of Secondary Metabolic Diversity Among Algal Bloom-forming Cyanobacteria (2016 – 2020)

SLOT, “Subcellular localization of toxin production in cyanobacteria”, Austrian Science Fund, P32193 (2019 – 2023)

Consequences of toxins produced by algal blooms


Microcystis with epibiontic protozoa and algae and bacteria, Photo: R. Kurmayer


Due to massive accumulation of cyanoHAB organisms at the surface or along the shore, the toxins that are produced can occur in high concentrations. This is of relevance when contaminated raw water is used for drinking as well as for recreation and tourism. Various aquatic biota like fish, crustaceans and mussels that are used for nutrition have been shown to contain cyanotoxins.

In Austria cyanoHABs occur in ponds and gravel pit lakes frequently after sunny periods during summer and autumn. In deep physically stratified lakes in the Alps, high abundances of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix can occur and under bloom conditions microcystin has been shown to be transferred up to the highest trophic levels.


Small fish (mostly Rastineobola argentea) occurring in Lake Victoria contain the hepatotoxin microcystin as revealed by ELISA, Photo: R. Kurmayer


As the occurrence of cyanoHABs is of public interest, water samples sent by technical offices or authorities are analyzed for the two most frequent cyanotoxins in freshwater, microcystin and anatoxin-a. Currently, in Austria a national guideline on the estimation of health risks associated with cyanoHABs occurrence is not available. Thus public requests are referred to the recommendation published by the Federal Environmental Agency in Germany.


CYANOCOST, “Cyanobacteria booms and toxins in water resources : Occurrence, impacts and management”, EU COST Action ES1105, (2012-2016), http://cyanocost.com/

IPGL, International Training Programs in Limnology,

https://boku.ac.at/wau/ihg/arbeitsgruppen/ipgl (MSc theses, ongoing)

PhD-APPEAR fellowship granted by OEAD (Benard Simiyu): The effects of hydrological changes on spatial phytoplankton composition and Microcystin concentrations in Nyanza Gulf of Lake Victoria, Kenya (2017-2020).

Alpine lakes as in situ observatories for climate change effects

Twenger Almsee

Ice break up in Twenger Alm See (2118 m aSL) in the Niedere Tauern Region during June 2012, Photo: V. Schaidreiter


Both direct impacts (i.e. increase in water temperature) and indirect impacts (i.e. increase in physical lake stratification, longer vegetation period, eutrophication due to increased precipitation) are predicted to favor the occurrence of nuisance algae such as cyanoHAB organisms. It is possible that the effects of climatic change are likely to run counter to the reduction in nutrient loading which is aimed for by the water management.

We aim to understand the factors that regulate the growth of algae and cyanobacteria both through direct measurements in the field and also through modelling of cyanoHAB growth in the water column. In a recent project we use high-throughput sequencing techniques to monitor plankton community composition as well as the immigration of certain nuisance species as a consequence of climatic change.

The ultimate aim is to use these results for a protection, monitoring and restoration of aquatic ecosystems


Asterionella formosa blooming in Lake Moaralmsee (1825 m aSL) in the Niedere Tauern Region during summer 2011, Photo: R. Kurmayer



CLAIMES CLimate response of Alpine lakes: resistance variability and Management consequences for Ecosystem Services - Earth System Sciences (ESS), Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW), 2019 - 2022

EcoAlps Water  (National project description)- Innovative Ecological Assessment and Water Management Strategy for the Protection of Ecosystem Services in Alpine Lakes and Rivers (Eco-AlpsWater Webpage). Interreg Alpine Space - European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2018 - 2021


DETECTIVE, “Decadal Detection of Biodiversity in Alpine Lakes” 2010-2013, Alpine Research Program of the ÖAW, http://www.uibk.ac.at/limno/research/projects/detective/ ;

RADICAL, “Risk Analysis of Direct and Indirect Climate effects on deep Austrian Lake Ecosystems (Austrian Climate Research Program (ACRP), 2010-2013, http://www.uibk.ac.at/limno/research/projects/radical/



 Group-photo 2023-FG Kurmayer-SW

staff members of the Research group
(from left to right: R. Kurmayer, T.G.Oluwakemi, O. Olukanni, R.A. Moron, A. Wiedlroither, H. Rund, K. Geir, not at the picture: E. Entfellner, H. Pritsch, M.Purker, D. Holzer and K. Kuntz), photo: S. Wanzenböck
click on photo to enlarge

Former members

PhD students

  • Elisabeth Entfellner (PhD Student, FWF P24070, MOBILOMICS P24070 (2012-2016), ÖAW PhD fellowship (2016-2022), FWF P32193 (2019-2024)
  • Benard Mucholwa Simiyu, (PhD Student, OEAD APPEAR PhD scholarship 2017-2022)
  • Teofana Chonova (PhD student, within the alpine space project EcoAlpsWater, 2016-2019)
  • Stephan Blank (PhD student, ÖAW project DETECTIVE, 2010-2013, UIBK Doc fellowship UIBK 2013-2015)
  • Chen Qin (PhD student, PhD fellowship Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi Province, P. R. China)
  • Veronika Ostermaier (FWF P20231, P24070, DOC-FORTE Fellowship, 2008-2013)
  • Philipp Trummer (ACRP project RADICAL, 2010–2012)
  • Nadja Straubinger (EU project BOMOSA, http://bomosa.oeaw.ac.at , 2007-2009)
  • William Okello (OEAD PhD fellowship, 2006-2009)
  • Eva Schober (EU project PEPCY, 2003-2006)


  • Guntram Christiansen (FWF projects P18185, P20231, Cyano-Biofuels, DETECTIVE), 2005-2011 





Finished projects

  • CLimate response of Alpine lakes: resistance variability and Management consequences for Ecosystem Services (CLAIMES) - Earth System Sciences (ESS), Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW) (Jul 2019 - Dec 2022) (with S. Wanzenböck) https://www.uibk.ac.at/projects/claimes/

  • Eco-AlpsWater - Innovative Ecological Assessment and Water Management Strategy for the Protection of Ecosystem Services in Alpine Lakes and Rivers. Interreg Alpine Space - Europäischer Fonds für regionale Entwicklung (EFRE) - European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (May 2018 - Dec 2021) together with J. Wanzenböck

  • ‘The effect of hydrological changes on the spatial phytoplankton composition and microcystin concentration in Nyanza Gulf; Lake Victoria, Kenya’, APPEAR scholarship, Benard Mulchowa Simiyu (2017-2021)

  • ‘Understanding Diversity of Secondary Metabolism in Cyanobacteria’, Doc Fellowship Elisabeth Entfellner, http://stipendien.oeaw.ac.at/de (2016 - 2021)
  • Cyanobacterial blooms and toxins in water resources: Occurrence, impacts and management. ESSEM COST Action ES1105 (Apr 2012 - Mar 2016, http://www.cost.eu/domains_actions/essem/Actions/ES1105 ). This new COST Action will establish a European network in order to address the issues of cyanobacterial blooms, their toxicity, monitoring, risk assessment, treatment and management and has been approved for involving >30 partners from 24 countries. http://cyanocost.com/

  • "Mobilomics of toxin production in cyanobacteria" funded by the Austrian Science Fund P24070,
    www.fwf.ac.at | Summary; http://www.uibk.ac.at/limno/research/projects/mobilomics/

  • Risk Analysis of Direct and Indirect Climate effects on deep Austrian Lake Ecosystems (RADICAL) Climate and Energy Fund of the Federal State, ACRP (2009-2012)

  • “DEcadal deTECTion of biodIVErsity in alpine lakes, DETECTIVE - Global warming threatens biodiversity in (ultra)-sensitive Alpine lakes: an assessment of past, present and future scenarios" funded by the Alpine Research Programme of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Dec 2009 - Dec 2012), National and International Research Programme.

  • “Natural products from cyanobacteria”, funded by Cyano Biotech GmbH, Chausseestr. 117, D-10115 Berlin, www.cyano-biotech.com
  • “Genotype determined toxin content in cyanobacteria”, funded by the Austrian Science Fund, P20231, www.fwf.at, July 2008 – June 2011 Dez 2011, finished. As a deliverable to disseminate the projects results an international mutagenisation workshop has been held in July 2011 (Link to: announcement; report)

  • “Linking Cyanotoxin production to genetic diversity” funded by the Austrian Science Fund P15709, www.fwf.ac.at , finished

  • "Microevolution of toxin synthesis in cyanobacteria" funded by the Austrian Science Fund P18185, www.fwf.ac.at , finished

  • “Use of cyanobacteria for the production of ethanol”, funded by Cyano BioFuels, Magnusstrasse 11, D-12489 Berlin, www.cyano-biofuels.com, finished

  • “Toxic and other bioactive PEPtides in Cyanobacteria” (PEPCY), funded by the European Community, QLK4-CT-2002-02634, finished, www.pepcy.de , Link to Final report. PDF (FINAL report PEPCY)
    As a deliverable for the PEPCY project “A manual on the use of genetic techniques to quantify genotypes of cyanobacteria in freshwater” has been compiled. Link to manual. PDF


  Logo "Klima Energie Fonds"OEAW-logo   Logo "PEPCY"  cyano   cost  cyanocost



 University of Innsbruck

Master's Programme (Botany, Ecology and Biodiversity and others)

Hydrobotany, elective Module 11 (every second year, Winter semester) including:

Molecular Taxonomy and Ecophysiology of Algae VU/2 at Research Department for Limnology, Mondseestrasse 9, 5310 Mondsee and Project Study Hydrobotany EU/3, at Institute for Botany, Sternwartestrasse 15, 6020 Innsbruck

Evolution of Algae VO/1, part of Elective Module 2: Plant Diversity and Systematics, Winter semester (every second year) at Institute for Botany, Sternwartestraße 15, A-6020 Innsbruck

Nature as a Political Subject VO/2, part of Elective Module 18: Theory of Science and Gender Research, Summer semester every second year at  Research Department for Limnology, Mondseestrasse 9, 5310 Mondsee

Evolutionary Ecology of Aquatic Organisms VU/5, Summer semester every second year at Research Department for Limnology, Mondseestrasse 9, 5310 Mondsee

Ecological Project Study, Compulsory Module 2 including VU/3 Methods in the Advanced Research Project (Winter semester) and PJ/5 Ecological Project Study (Summer semester), (every second year)

Bachelor's Programme Biology

Basic Laboratory Course UE/3, in Winter semester (yearly) at Institute for Microbiology, Labor Biologie 0/406, Technikerstrasse 25, 6020 Innsbruck

Molecular Ecology of Algae, VU/1, Elective Module 4: Diversity, Systematics and Ecology and Vascular Plants and Algae (Summer semester, yearly), at Institute for Botany, Sternwartestraße 15, 6020 Innsbruck

Interdisciplinary graduate course (Faculties of Biology and Geology)

Limnogeology VU/4- Interdisciplinary course in Mondsee (WS 2017/18, SS 2019) at Research Department for Limnology, Mondseestrasse 9, 5310 Mondsee (other lecturers involved from Mondsee: Sonntag, B.Wanzenböck, J.)

University of Vienna

Physiology and Ecology of Cyanobacteria, VO/1 Winter Semester (every 2nd year since 2007 - 2021), University of Vienna, UZAI, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna.

Bachelor theses

  1. Daniel Holzer, ‘Verbreitung der Gene zur Synthese des cyanobakteriellen Neurotoxins Anatoxin-a in Planktothrix’. (Univ. Innsbruck, 2014), 49pp.
  2. Ivo Tomedi, Molekulargenetische Regulierung der Heterozystenbildung bei Cyanobakterien, Univ. Innsbruck, 2017, 48pp.
  3. Magdalena Knapp, Ökologische Diversifizierung bei Algenblüten und Bildung von bioaktiven Naturstoffen, Univ Innsbruck, 2019, 61pp.
  4. Kathrin Geir, Phylogenetische Charakterisierung von (nicht) toxischen Isolaten bei Algenblüten, Univ Innsbruck, 2022, 36pp.
  5. Mandy Oberhollenzer, Exploration of eDNA metabarcoding to supplement Traditional Assessments in WFD implementations: Bioinformatic processing of 16S and 18S rDNA genes from Austrian lake and river biofilm samples in comparison to microscopic counts. Univ. Innsbruck, 2021, 55pp.
  6. Clare Martens, Evaluation of 16S and 18S rDNA sequencing of phytoplankton samples from two freshwater lakes in Austria in comparison with the traditional assessment method by microscopy, Univ. Innsbruck, 2021, 61pp.
  7. Dominik von Spinn, Umwelt DNA als Informationsquelle für den Gewässerschutz in Gebirgsseen. Innsbruck, 2021, 48pp.
  8. Lena Rieberer, Verbreitung von Mutationen der Toxinsynthese bei Cyanobakterien in Europäischen Gewässern. Univ Innsbruck, 2022, 49pp.

Diploma theses

  1. Thomas Kutzenberger, ‘Quantification of toxin genes in surface waters by real-time PCR’ (Univ. Vienna, 2003, 107pp.)
  2. Baraka Sekadende, ‘Assessment of toxin producing cyanobacteria in Mwanza Gulf - Lake Victoria’ (UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands, 2002, 47pp.)
  3. Marlies Gumpenberger, ‘Phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of isolates of the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix’ (Univ. Salzburg, 2004, 122pp.)
  4. Simone Kosol, ‘Characterising the content of two cyclic peptides and phytoplankton pigments in isolates of the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix spp’ (Univ. Salzburg, 2005, 87pp.)
  5. William Okello, ‘Toxic cyanobacteria in Ugandan freshwater habitats’ (UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands, 2004, 70pp.)
  6. Qian Liu, ‘Abundance of specific microcystin-deficient genotypes in Planktothrix rubescens populations of the Salzkammergut Area, Upper Austria’ (UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands, 2005, 61pp.)
  7. Carole Molitor, ‘Phylogenetic characterisation of mutations inactivating the biosynthesis of the toxic heptapeptide microcystin’ (Univ. Innsbruck, 2006, 150pp.)
  8. Veronika Ostermaier, ‘Seasonal abundance of mutation and recombinations in microcystin genes in populations of cyanobacteria’ (Univ. Munich, 2007, 104pp.)
  9. Athanasio Mbonde, ‘Analysis of phytoplankton composition during stratification of Lake Victoria (Mwanza Gulf, Tanzania)’ (IHE Delft, The Netherlands, 2009, 71pp.)
  10. Benard Simiyu, ‘Microcystin exposure through fish consumption in the Nyanza Gulf (Kenia)’ (IHE Delft, The Netherlands, 2012, 69pp.).
  11. Mark Frei, ‘Recombinational analysis of toxin synthesis gene clusters in green- and red-pigmented Planktothrix’, (Univ.Vienna, 2013, 121pp.).
  12. Mark Olokotum, The occurrence of cyanotoxins in raw water and its elimination during drinking water treatment in Uganda (IHE Delft 2016, The Netherlands, 74pp.).
  13. Kathrin Baumann, Evolution of aeruginosin bioactive peptide synthesis in bloom-forming cyanobacteria (Univ. of Natural Resources and Life Sciences 2017, Vienna), 124pp.
  14. Rachel Vith, The effects of cyanobacterial toxins and tase & odor compounds on treated water quality in Bahir Dar Gulf, Lake Tana, Ethiopia ( of Natural Resources and Life Sciences 2020, Vienna), 105pp.
  15. Christoph Kotzorek, Click labelling and In Vitro clicking (CuAAC) of the widespread cyanotoxin Microcystin and the bioactive peptide Anabaenopeptin from cyanobacteria (Univ. of Innsbruck 2022), 95pp.
  16. Magdalena Purker, The Evaluation of Toxin-producing potential. A monitoring system for cyanobacteria in bathing waters via amplicon sequencing (Univ. Vienna, 2021), 116pp.
  17. Daniel Holzer, Charakterisierung von Mutationen durch Transposasen in Genen zur Toxinsynthese bei Cyanobakterien (Univ. Innsbruck 2022, ongoing)
  18. Kristin Kuntz, Subzelluläre Charakteerisierung der Toxinsynthese in Cyanobakterien (Univ. Innsbruck, ongoing)

PhD theses

  1. Eva Schober, ‘Diversity in abundance of toxic genotypes in natural populations of cyanobacteria (Planktothrix spp.)’, (Mar. 2003 – Jun.2006, University of Vienna, 129pp, defended)
  2. William Okello, ‘Molecular and chemical characterisation of toxic cyanobacteria in Ugandan freshwater’(Jun. 2006 – Oct. 2009, Univ.Vienna, 109pp, defended).
  3. Nadja Straubinger, ‘Effects of cage fish farming systems on phytoplankton and water quality in small ponds of East Africa’ (Co-supervisor, Mar. 2007 – Dec. 2009, Univ. Vienna, 67 pp., defended).
  4. Veronika Ostermaier, ‘Environmental regulation of microcystin genotype abundance and the resulting net production of the toxic heptapeptide microcystin among bloom-forming cyanobacteria’ (Apr. 2009 – Sep. 2012, Univ. Vienna, 161pp., defended).
  5. Philipp Trummer, “Cyanobacteria population development and regulation of toxin production in a mesotrophic deep lake in the Alps (May 2010 – Nov 2012, Univ. of Vienna), project RADICAL, discontinued.
  6. Stephan Blank, “Assessment of planktonic diversity in alpine lakes by means of ultra-deep sequencing (Univ. of Innsbruck), project DETECTIVE, Nov 2011 – May 2015, discontinued.
  7. Qin Chen, ‘Molecular Ecology and Physiology of Cyanobacteria in the Ecosystems of Freshwater and Sediments’ (Co-supervisor, Oct 2011 – Sept 2013, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, China, 144 pp., defended).
  8. Elisabeth Entfellner, ‘Variation/recombination as well as the activity of secondary metabolite gene clusters in cyanobacteria in dependence on microevolutionary processes’, (Jan 2014 – Jan 2024, Univ. Innsbruck, 213pp., to be defended).
  9. Benard Mulchowa Simiyu, ‘The effects of hydrological changes on spatial phytoplankton composition and microcystin concentrations in Nyanza Gulf, Lake Victoria, Kenya.’, (April 2017 – 2021, Univ. Innsbruck, 202pp., defended).
  10. Teofana Chonova, “Hospital effluents and their effect on microbial communities in environmental biofilms” (2019, Univ. of Innsbruck, 198pp., defended).
  11. Hans Rund, “Development and implementation of eDNA monitoring methods for fish in the alpine region and comparison with traditional ecological status assessment methods” (Univ. of Innsbruck, Oct 2018 - ongoing), Co-supervisor, EcoAlpsWater
  12. Hanna Pritsch, “Response of alpine lakes to climate change and consequences for management”, (Univ. of Innsbruck, Oct 2019 – ongoing)
  13. Ruben Moron Asensio, “Subcellular localization of toxin production in cyanobacteria”, Univ. of Innsbruck, 2020-
  14. Magdalena Purker, “Establishing an early warning system for cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in bathing waters”, Univ. of Innsbruck, 2022-




  • Jablonska, M., Cerasino L., Boscaini A., Capelli C., Greco C., Klemenčič A.K., Mischke U., Salmaso N., Kurmayer R. (2024). Distribution of toxigenic cyanobacteria in Alpine lakes and rivers as revealed by molecular screening. Water Research 121783, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2024.121783
  • Rund H., Wanzenböck J., Dobrovolny S., Kurmayer R. (2024). Relating target fish DNA concentration to community composition analysis in freshwater fish via metabarcoding, Science of The Total Environment 927: 172281, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.172281.

  • Salmaso N., Bernabei S., Boscaini A., Capelli C., Cerasino L., Domaizon I., Elersek T., Greco C., Krivograd Klemenčič A., Tomassetti P., Kurmayer R. (2024).  Biodiversity patterns of cyanobacterial oligotypes in lakes and rivers: results of a large-scale metabarcoding survey in the Alpine region. Hydrobiologia 851:  1035–1062,




  • Olokotum M., Humbert J.-F., Quiblier C., Okello W., Semyalo R., Troussellier M., Marie B., Baumann K., Kurmayer R., Bernard C. (2022). Characterization of Potential Threats from Cyanobacterial Toxins in Lake Victoria Embayments and during Water Treatment. Toxins 14(10):664, https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins14100664

  • Entfellner E., Li R., Jiang Y., Ru J., Blom J., Deng L., Kurmayer R. (2022). Toxic/bioactive peptide synthesis genes rearranged by insertion sequence elements among the bloom-forming cyanobacteria Planktothrix. Front Microbiol doi:10.3389/fmicb.2022.901762

  • Salmaso N., Vasselon V., Rimet F., Vautier M., Elersek T., Boscaini A., Donati C., Moretto M., Pindo M., Riccioni G., Stefani E., Capelli C., Lepori F., Kurmayer R., Mischke U., Klemenčič A.K., Novak K., Greco C., Franzini G., Fusato G., Giacomazzi F., Lea A., Menegon S., Zampieri C., Macor A., Virgilio D., Zanut E., Zorza R., Buzzi F., Domaizon I. (2022). DNA sequence and taxonomic gap analyses to quantify the coverage of aquatic cyanobacteria and eukaryotic microalgae in reference databases: Results of a survey in the Alpine region. Science of The Total Environment 834:155175 doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155175

  • Simiyu B.M., Kurmayer R. (2022). Response of planktonic diatoms to eutrophication in Nyanza Gulf of Lake Victoria, Kenya, Limnologica 93: 125958 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2022.125958

  • Simiyu B. M., Amukhuma H. S., Sitoko L., Kurmayer R. (2022). Interannual variability of water quality conditions in the Nyanza Gulf of Lake Victoria, Kenya, Journal of Great Lakes Research 48: 97-109, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2021.10.017


  • Morón-Asensio R., Schuler D., Wiedlroither A., Offterdinger M., Kurmayer R. (2021). Differential Labeling of Chemically Modified Peptides and Lipids among Cyanobacteria Planktothrix and Microcystis. Microorganisms 9(8):1578. doi:10.3390/microorganisms9081578

  • Schirpke U., Ebner M., Pritsch H., Fontana V., Kurmayer R. (2021). Quantifying Ecosystem Services of High Mountain Lakes across Different Socio-Ecological Contexts. Sustainability 13(11):6051. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116051  

  • Ibelings B., Kurmayer R, Azevedo S.M.F.O., Wood S.A., Chorus I., Welker M. (2021). Chapter 4: Understanding the occurrence of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins, In: Chorus I., Welker M. (eds.). Toxic Cyanobacteria in Water: A Guide to Their Public Health Consequences, Monitoring and Management. CRC Press, 213-294.

  • Padisák J., Chorus I., Welker M., Maršálek B., Kurmayer R. (2021). Chapter 13: Laboratory analyses of cyanobacteria and water chemistry, In: Chorus I., Welker M. (eds.). Toxic Cyanobacteria in Water: A Guide to Their Public Health Consequences, Monitoring and Management. CRC Press, 689-744.

  • Rott E., Kurmayer R., Holzinger A., Sanders D.G. (2021). Contrasting endolithic habitats for cyanobacteria in
    spring calcites of the European Alps. Nova Hedwigia 112(1-2): 17-48. doi: 10.1127/nova_hedwigia/2021/0615  


  • Schwarzenberger A., Kurmayer R., Martin-Creuzburg D. (2020). Toward Disentangling the Multiple Nutritional Constraints Imposed by Planktothrix: The Significance of Harmful Secondary Metabolites and Sterol Limitation. Frontiers in Microbiology 11:2473 doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.586120.

  • Kaletta J., Pickl C., Griebler C., Klingl A., Kurmayer R., Deng L. (2020). A rigorous assessment and comparison of enumeration methods for environmental viruses. Sci Rep 10(1):18625 doi:10.1038/s41598-020-75490-y.

  • Kurmayer R., Entfellner E., Weisse T., Offterdinger M., Rentmeister A., Deng L. (2020). Chemically labeled toxins or bioactive peptides show a heterogeneous intracellular distribution and low spatial overlap with autofluorescence in bloom-forming cyanobacteria. Sci Rep 10, 2781, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-59381-w


  • Ma T., Jiang Y., Elbehery A. H. A., Blank S., Kurmayer R., Deng L. (online first). Resilience of planktonic bacterial community structure in response to short-term weather deterioration during the growing season in an alpine lake. Hydrobiologia doi:10.1007/s10750-019-04118-8.

  • Jiang Y., Huang H., Ma T., Ru J., Blank S., Kurmayer R., Deng L. (2019). Temperature response of planktonic microbiota in remote alpine lakes, Front. Microbiol. 10:1714, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01714 

  • Chonova T., Kurmayer R., Rimet F., Labanowski J., Vasselon V., Keck F., Illmer P., Bouchez A. (2019). Benthic Diatom Communities in an Alpine River Impacted by Waste Water Treatment Effluents as Revealed Using DNA Metabarcoding, Frontiers in Microbiology, 10:653. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00653


  • Simiyu B.M., Odour S.O., Rohrlack T., Sitoki L., Kurmayer R. (2018). Microcystin Content in Phytoplankton and in Small Fish from Eutrophic Nyanza Gulf, Lake Victoria, Kenya, Toxins 10(7): 275 doi:10.3390/toxins10070275

  • Kurmayer R., Christiansen G., Holzinger A., Rott E. (2018). Single colony genetic analysis of epilithic stream algae of the genus Chamaesiphon spp. Hydrobiologia 811:61-75,  doi:10.1007/s10750-017-3295-z


  • Meriluoto J., Blaha L. , Bojadzija G., Bormans M., Brient L., Codd G.A., Drobac D., Faassen E.J., Fastner J., Hiskia A., Ibelings B.W. , Kaloudis T., Kokocinski M., Kurmayer R., Pantelić D., Quesada A., Salmaso N., Tokodi N., Triantis T.M., Visser P.M.  Svirčev Z. (2017). Toxic cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in European waters - recent progress achieved through the CYANOCOST Action and challenges for further research. Advances in Oceanography and Limnology 8(1) doi:10.4081/aiol.2017.6429.

  • Kurmayer, R., A. Wilmotte, K. Sivonen, N. Salmaso (eds.) 2017. Molecular tools for the detection and quantification of toxigenic cyanobacteria, 276pp. Wiley & Sons Limited
    (Deliverable of the CyanoCOST project, http://cyanocost.com)

  • Entfellner E., Frei M., Christiansen G., Deng L., Blom J., Kurmayer R. (2017): Evolution of anabaenopeptin peptide structural variability in the cyanobacterium Planktothrix. Frontiers in Microbiology 8:219, doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.00219


  • Bullerjahn, G.S. et al. (2016). Global solutions to regional problems: collecting global expertise to address the problem of harmful algal blooms - A Lake Erie case study. Harmful Algae 54:223-238, doi:10.1016/j.hal.2016.01.003.

  • Kurmayer, R., Deng, L., Entfellner, E. (2016). Role of toxic and bioactive secondary metabolites in colonization and bloom formation by filamentous cyanobacteria Planktothrix. Harmful Algae 54:69-86. doi:10.1016/j.hal.2016.01.004

  • Weckström K., Weckström J., Huber K., Kamenik C, Schmidt R., Salvenmoser W., Rieradevall M., Weisse T., Psenner R.,  Kurmayer R. (2016). Impacts of climate warming on Alpine lake biota over the last decade. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 48, 361-376. Abstract

  • Chen, Q., Christiansen, G., Deng, L., Kurmayer, R. (2016). Emergence of nontoxic mutants as revealed by single filament analysis in bloom-forming cyanobacteria of the genus Planktothrix. BMC Microbiology 16:23, doi 10.1186/s12866-016-0639-1 PDF


  • Mbonde A., Sitoki L., Kurmayer R. (2015). Phytoplankton composition and microcystin concentrations in open and closed bays of Lake Victoria, Tanzania. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 18(2):212-220, DOI:10.1080/14634988.2015.101103. PDF

  • Kurmayer R., Blom J., Deng L., Pernthaler J. (2015) Integrating phylogeny, geographic niche partitioning, and secondary metabolite synthesis in bloom-forming Planktothrix. The ISME Journal 9(4):909-921. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2014.189 PDF


  • Kohler, E., V. Grundler, D. Häussinger, R. Kurmayer, K. Gademann, J. Pernthaler & J. F. Blom, (2014). The toxicity and enzyme activity of a chlorine and sulfate containing aeruginosin isolated from a non-microcystin-producing Planktothrix strain. Harmful Algae 39:154-160 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hal.2014.07.003

  • Christiansen G., Goesmann A., Kurmayer R. (2014). Elucidation of insertion elements encoded on plasmids and in vitro construction of shuttle vectors from the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix. Appl Environ Microbiol. doi:10.1128/AEM.01188-14

  • Niedermeyer T. J., Schmieder P., Kurmayer R. (2014) Isolation of Microcystins from the Cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens Strain No80. Natural Products and Bioprospecting. 1-9. DOI 10.1007/s13659-013-0001-3


  • Ostermaier, V., Christiansen G., Schanz, F., Kurmayer, R. (2013) Genetic variability of microcystin biosynthesis genes in Planktothrix as elucidated from samples preserved by heat desiccation during three decades. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080177 PDF

  • Nevalainen, L., Ketola, M., Korosi, J.B., Manca, M., Kurmayer, R., Koinig, K., Psenner, R., Luoto, TP. (2013) Zooplankton (Cladocera) species turnover and long-term decline of Daphnia in two high mountain lakes in the Austrian Alps. Hydrobiologia, DOI 10.1007/s10750-013-1676-5.
  • Rohrlack, T., Christiansen, G., Kurmayer, R. (2013). A putative anti-parasite defensive system in the cyanobacterium Planktothrix involving ribosomal and non-ribosomal oligopeptides. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 79, 2642-2647 PDF


  • Ostermaier V., Schanz F., Köster  O., and Kurmayer R. (2012) Stability of toxin gene proportion in red-pigmented populations of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix during 29 years of re-oligotrophication of Lake Zürich. BMC Biology 10:100, doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-100.

  • Sitoki,·L.,·Kurmayer,·R.,·Rott,·E.·(2012)· Spatial·variation·of·phytoplankton·composition,·biovolume,·and· resulting·microcystin·concentrations·in·the·Nyanza·Gulf·(Lake· Victoria,·Kenya). Hydrobiologia 691:109-122. DOI·10.1007/s10750-012-1062-8 PDF


  • Savichtcheva, O., Debroas, D., Kurmayer, R., Villar, C., Jenny J.P., Fabien A., Perga M.E., Domaizon I. (2011) Quantitative PCR enumeration of total and toxic Planktothrix rubescens/agardhii and other cyanobacteria in preserved DNA isolated from lake sediments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77:8744-8753. doi: 10.1128/AEM.06106-11 PDF
  • Christiansen, G., Philmus, B., Hemscheidt, T., and Kurmayer, R. (2011) Genetic variation of adenylation domains of the anabaenopeptin synthesis operon and the evolution of substrate promiscuity. Journal of Bacteriology 193, 3822-3831 PDF

  • Okello, W., Kurmayer, R. (2011) Seasonal development of cyanobacteria and microcystin production in Ugandan freshwater lakes. Lakes & Reservoirs: Research & Management 16:123-135.

  • Babanazarova, O. V., Kurmayer R., Sidelev S. I., Aleksandrina E. M., and Sakharova E .G. (2011) Phytoplankton structure and microcystine concentration in the highly eutrophic Nero Lake. Water Resources 39(2):229-236. PDF

  • Kurmayer, R., Schober E., Tonk L., Visser P., and Christiansen G. (2011) Spatial divergence in the proportions of genes encoding toxic peptide synthesis among populations of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix in European lakes. FEMS Microbiol Letters 317:127-137. PDF

  • Kurmayer, R. (2011) The toxic cyanobacterium Nostoc strain 152 produces highest amounts of microcystin and nostophycin under stress conditions. Journal of Phycology 47:200-207. PDF


  • Ostermaier, V., and Kurmayer, R. (2010) Application of real-time PCR to estimate toxin production by the cyanobacterium Planktothrix sp. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76:3495-3502. PDF

  • Okello, W; Ostermaier, V; Portmann, C; Gademann, K, and Kurmayer, R. (2010) Spatial isolation favours the divergence in microcystin net production by Microcystis in Ugandan freshwater lakes. Water Research 44: 2803-2814. PDF

  • Okello, W., Portmann, C., Erhard, M., Gademann, K., Kurmayer, R. (2010) Occurrence of microcystin-producing cyanobacteria in Ugandan freshwater habitats. Environ. Tox. 25: 367-380. PDF


  • Kosol, S., Schmidt, J., and Kurmayer, R. (2009): Variation in peptide net production and growth among strains of the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix spp. Eur. J. Phycol. 44:49-62. PDF

  • Kurmayer, R. and Christiansen, G. (2009): The genetic basis of toxin production in Cyanobacteria. Freshwater Reviews 2:31-50 PDF

  • Ostermaier, V. and Kurmayer, R. (2009): Distribution and abundance of nontoxic mutants of cyanobacteria in lakes of the Alps. Microbial Ecology 58:323-333. PDF


  • Christiansen, G., Yoshida W.Y., Blom, J., Portmann, C., Gademann, KG., Hemscheidt, T., and Kurmayer, R. (2008): Isolation and structure determination of two microcystins and sequence comparisons of McyABC adenylation domains in Planktothrix species. Journal of Natural Products 71:1881-1886. PDF Supplement

  • Christiansen G., Molitor C., Philmus B., and Kurmayer R. (2008): Non-toxic strains of cyanobacteria are the result of major gene deletion events induced by a transposable element. Molecular Biology and Evolution 25:1695-1704 Link


  • Naselli-Flores, L., Barone, R., Chorus, I., and Kurmayer, R. (2007): Toxic cyanobacterial blooms under a semiarid mediterranean climate: The magnification of a problem. Environmental Toxicology 22:399-404. PDF

  • Ishida K., Christiansen G., Yoshida WY., Kurmayer R., Welker , Bonjoch J., Hertweck C., Börner T., Hemscheidt T., and Dittmann E. (2007): Biosynthetic pathway and structure analysis of aeruginoside 126A and B, cyanobacterial peptide glycosides bearing an unusual 2-carboxy-6-hydroxyoctahydroindole moiety. Chemistry and Biology 14: 565-576. Links to PDF's (Ishida et al. 2007), (preface Ishida et al. 2007)

  • Schober E., Werndl M., Laakso K., Korschineck I., Sivonen K., and Kurmayer R. (2007): Interlaboratory comparison of Taq Nuclease Assays for the quantification of the toxic cyanobacteria Microcystis sp. Journal of Microbiological Methods 69: 122-128. PDF


  • Kurmayer R. and Gumpenberger M. (2006): Diversity of microcystin genotypes among populations of the filamentous cyanobacteria Planktothrix rubescens and Planktothrix agardhii. Molecular Ecology 15: 3849-3861. PDF

  • Schober E. and Kurmayer R. (2006): Evaluation of different DNA sampling techniques for the application of the real-time PCR method for the quantification of cyanobacteria in water. Letters in Applied Microbiology 42: 412-417. PDF

  • Christiansen G., Kurmayer R., Liu Q., and Börner T. (2006): Transposons inactivate the biosynthesis of the nonribosomal peptide microcystin in naturally occurring Planktothrix spp. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 72: 117-123. PDF, Cover


  • Sekadende BC., Lyimo T. J., and Kurmayer R. (2005): Microcystin production by cyanobacteria in the Mwanza Gulf (Lake Victoria, Tanzania). Hydrobiologia 543: 299-304. PDF

  • Kurmayer R., Christiansen G., Gumpenberger M., and Fastner J. (2005): Genetic identification of microcystin ecotypes in toxic cyanobacteria of the genus Planktothrix. Microbiology 151: 1525-1533. PDF


  • Via-Ordorika L., Fastner J., Kurmayer R., Hisbergues M., Dittmann E., Komarek J., Erhard M., and Chorus I. (2004): Distribution of microcystin-producing and non-microcystin-producing Microcystis sp. in European freshwater bodies: detection of microcystins and microcystin genes in individual colonies. Systematic and Applied Microbiology 27: 592-603. PDF

  • Kurmayer R., Christiansen G., Fastner J., and Börner T. (2004): Abundance of active and inactive microcystin genotypes in populations of the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix spp. Environmental Microbiology 6: 831-841. PDF, Cover


  • Kurmayer R. and Kutzenberger T. (2003): Application of real-time PCR for the quantification of microcystin genotypes in a population of the toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis sp. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69:6723-6730. PDF

  • Kurmayer R., Christiansen G., and Chorus I. (2003): The abundance of microcystin-producing genotypes correlates positively with colony size in Microcystis and determines its microcystin net production in Lake Wannsee. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69/2: 787-795. PDF


  • Kurmayer R., Dittmann E., Fastner J.and Chorus I. (2002): Diversity of microcystin genes within a population of the toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis spp. in Lake Wannsee (Berlin, Germany). Microbial Ecology 43: 107-118. PDF


  • Kurmayer R. (2001): Competitive ability of Daphnia under dominance of non-toxic filamentous cyanobacteria, M. Boersma & K. Wiltshire (eds.): Proceedings of the V symposium on cladocera in Plön (Germany), Hydrobiologia 442: 279-289. PDF


  • Kurmayer R. (2000): Nutritive vs. interfering effects of Anabaena sp. on Daphnia and Ceriodaphnia. Verh. Int. Ver. Limnol. 27: 3001-3005.


  • Kurmayer R., and Jüttner F. (1999): Strategies for the coexistence of zooplankton with the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens in Lake Zürich. J. Plankt. Res. 21: 659-683. PDF

Popular scientific contributions

  • Teubner K., Kurmayer R., Dokulil M.T. (2022). Eutrophierung, toxische Cyanobakterien am Beispiel des urbanen Donau-Altarmgewässers Alte Donau und des alpinen Mondsees. In: ÖWAV Arbeitsbehelf 52, Band 2 „Mikrobiologie und Wasser“ (Fallstudien), (eds Farnleitner et al.), 35-45, https://www.oewav.at/Publikationen?current=449629&mode=form

  • Kurmayer, R., Luger, M., Blatterer, H. (2022). Auftreten von roten Cyanobakterien-Blüten in den Alpenseen am Beispiel des Mondsees gestern und heute. Österreichs Fischerei 75(5/6), 139-153.

  • Mischke U., Kurmayer R., Salmaso N., Elersek T., Lepori F., Schaumburg J., Rimet F., Vasselon V., Domaizon I. (2022). Metabarcoding für Phytoplankton- und benthische Diatomeenarten durch das Projekt Eco-AlpsWater – Erfahrungen für bayerische Gewässer. In: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Limnologie e.V.: Ergebnisse der Jahrestagung 2021 der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Limnologie (DGL) und der deutschen und österreichischen Sektion der Societas Internationalis Limnologiae (SIL). Leipzig, 27. September – 1. Oktober 2021. Essen: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Limnologie, ISBN 978-3-9818302-6-2, S. 163 - 170.

  • Kurmayer, R. Studie zum Einfluss des Klimawandels auf Alpine Seen und deren Ökosyslemleistungen – 2. Bericht, Probenahme im September – Oktober 2020. Österreichs Fischerei 75(2/3), 61-67.

  • Kurmayer, R. Einfluss des Klimawandels auf alpine Seen, Bericht in Salzburgs Fischerei Heft 3/2021, S. 35-40.

  • Kurmayer, R. (2016). Rolle von toxischen Peptiden für die Bildung von Algenblüten. bioskop, 1. Februar 2016.

  • Wanzenböck J., Kurmayer R. (2014). Radical - Risk Analysis of Direct and Indirect Climate Effects on Deep Austrian Lake Ecosystems. Berichte zur Klimafolgenforschung 2014 - Biodiversität, Broschüre des Austrian Climate Research Programme
    in Essence, 13-19. PDF

  • Kurmayer, R. (2006). Bedingungen und Steuerung der Toxinproduktion bei Cyanobakterien – aktueller Stand der Forschung. In: Toxinbildende Cyanobakterien (Blaualgen) in bayrischen Gewässern. Materalienband Nr. 125, Bayrisches Landesamt für Umwelt, pp. 116-143. Link to PDF (Bayr. Landesamt Bericht)

  • Kurmayer R. (2005). Dreckige Gewinner. Team vom Mondsee erforscht die Karriere von Blaualgen. Universum April 2005, No4: 91. PDF

  • ORF Science Channel, Young Science, http://science.orf.at/science/news/45445 - http://science.orf.at/science/news/96757

  • Kurmayer, R. Wissenswertes über Blaualgen im Podcast der Universität Innsbruck, Podcast-Beitrag Cyanobakterien der Uni Innsbruck Reihe "Zeit für Wissenschaft" von Melanie Bartos, 7.6.2017, https://www.uibk.ac.at/newsroom/zeit-fuer-wissenschaft-cyanobakterien.html.de


Editorial Board


Ecological Society of America (ESA)
Österreichischer Alpenverein (ÖAV)
Societas Internationalis Limnologiae (SIL Austria) 
World Wild Life Fund (WWF)


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