The effects of sodium bicarbonate concentration, population density, and temperature on the maintenance of an outdoor monoculture of the cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis were studied. A clear response by Spirulina to the concentration of bicarbonate was evident, with 0.2M bicarbonate representing the lowest concentration in which a monoculture could be maintained. When the temperatures fell during the winter period to some 20–25°C below the optimum for Spirulina, Chlorella sp. gradually increased and became the dominant species in the culture. Raising the temperature by covering the pond with transparent polyethylene resulted in a sharp decline in the population of Chlorella, and a gradual resumption of species dominance by Spirulina. In winter, there was an inverse relationship in the pond between the population density of Spirulina and the extent of contamination by Chlorella sp.; but no such effect was observed under field conditions at temperatures higher than 25°C.