Sampling cyanobacteria in freshwater ecosystems is a crucial aspect of monitoring programs in both basic and applied research. Despite this, few papers have dealt with this aspect, and a high proportion of cyanobacteria monitoring programs are still based on monthly or twice-monthly water sampling, usually performed at a single location. In this study, we conducted high frequency spatial and temporal water sampling in a small eutrophic shallow lake that experiences cyanobacterial blooms every year. We demonstrate that the spatial and temporal aspects of the sampling strategy had a considerable impact on the findings of cyanobacteria monitoring in this lake. In particular, two peaks of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae cell abundances were usually not picked up by the various temporal sampling strategies tested. In contrast, sampling once a month was sufficient to provide a good overall estimation of the population dynamics of Microcystis aeruginosa. The spatial frequency of sampling was also important, and the choice in the location of the sampling points around the lake was very important if only two or three sampling points were used. When four or five sampling points were used, this reduced the impact of the choice of the location of the sampling points, and allowed to obtain fairly similar results than when six sampling points were used. These findings demonstrate the importance of the sampling strategy in cyanobacteria monitoring, and the fact that it is impossible to propose a single universal sampling strategy that is appropriate for all freshwater ecosystems and also for all cyanobacteria.
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