Abundance of picoplanktonic chroococcoid marine cyanobacteria Synechococcus was monitored weekly over the year 1998 in shallow coastal waters of the northern Levantine Basin. The ambient physical, chemical and biological variables (temperature, salinity, Secchi disk depth, total suspended sediment, nitrate, phosphate, Chl a and phytoplankton) were also measured. Synechococcus was found to be more abundant during summer and early autumn and less during winter and early spring. At the surface and 15 m depth, cell concentrations were in the range 6.4 x 10(3)-1.5 x 10(5) and 3.2 x 10(3)-1.6 x 10(5) cells(.)ml(-1), respectively. Based on the Pearson product-moment correlation analysis, a highly significant correlation between Synechococcus abundance and ambient temperature was observed (n = 40, r = 0.558, P < 0.01). As Synechococcus forms blooms that usually do not last more than a week, the short time-scale survey achieved in this study was appropriate to reveal its abundance dynamics. Several factors such as rapid changes in nutrient concentration (especially nitrate), phytoplankton, light availability, temperature, salinity, freshwater input and vertical mixing played a relevant role on the abundance of Synechococcus over the year in the highly dynamic shallow coastal waters of the Levantine Basin.