Relative abundance of Oscillatoria cf. chalybea was monitored during May-November, 1993, in 40 ponds at four catfish farms located 50-100 km apart in west central Mississippi, USA. The occurrence of O. cf.chalybea coincided with the period that water temperatures remained above 20°C. In 70% of ponds, O. cf.chalybea was present for a period of 2-20 weeks. The alga recurred in all ponds where it had been present in 1990 and 1991. The effects of temperature and light availability on growth rate and 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) production of O. cf. chalybea were studied in continuous cultures. At 28°C, maximum specific growth rates were 0.8 d−1 (24 h light) and 0.6 d−1 (14 h light :10 h dark). Algal cells contained less MIB when adapted to the shorter light cycle than when grown under continuous light. Specific growth rate of O. cf.chalybea dropped from 0.3 to 0.1 d−1 when temperature was changed from 21 to 19.5°C (14 h light).