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Volume: 155, No: , 2009, Pages: 3476–3490

Biodiversity of cyanobacteria and green algae on monuments in the Mediterranean Basin: an overview

Maria Filomena Macedo,1 Ana Ze´ lia Miller,2 Ame´ lia Dionı´sio3 and Cesareo Saiz-Jimenez4

VICARTE, Departamento de Conservac¸a˜o e Restauro, Faculdade de Cieˆ ncias e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Monte da Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal.


The presence and deteriorating action of micro-organisms on monuments and stone works of art have received considerable attention in the last few years. Knowledge of the microbial populations living on stone materials is the starting point for successful conservation treatment and control. This paper reviews the literature on cyanobacteria and chlorophyta that cause deterioration of stone cultural heritage (outdoor monuments and stone works of art) in European countries of the Mediterranean Basin. Some 45 case studies from 32 scientific papers published between 1976 and 2009 were analysed. Six lithotypes were considered: marble, limestone, travertine, dolomite, sandstone and granite. A wide range of stone monuments in the Mediterranean Basin support considerable colonization of cyanobacteria and chlorophyta, showing notable biodiversity. About 172 taxa have been described by different authors, including 37 genera of cyanobacteria and 48 genera of chlorophyta. The most widespread and commonly reported taxa on the stone cultural heritage in the Mediterranean Basin are, among cyanobacteria, Gloeocapsa, Phormidium and Chroococcus and, among chlorophyta, Chlorella, Stichococcus and Chlorococcum. The results suggest that cyanobacteria and chlorophyta colonize a wide variety of substrata and that this is related primarily to the physical characteristics of the stone surface, microclimate and environmental conditions and secondarily to the lithotype.

Keywords:cyanobacteria;chlorophyta;cyanobacteria;Gloeocapsa;Phormidium;Chroococcus;chlorophyta;Chlorella;Stichococcus; Chlorococcum.

Corresponding author:

E-mail: mfmd@fct.unl.pt


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