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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. A mechanistic, molecular-level model of a toxin-producing cyanobacterium explains ecology and informs management.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 27, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  4. The environmental conditions experienced by microbial communities are rarely fully simulated in the laboratory. Researchers use experimental containers (“bottles”), where natural samples can be manipulated and evaluated. However, container-based methods are subject to “bottle effects”: changes that occur when enclosing the plankton community that are often times unexplained by standard measures like pigment and nutrient concentrations. We noted variability in a short-term, nutrient amendment experiment during a 2019 Lake Erie, Microcystis spp. bloom. We observed changes in heterotrophic bacteria activity (transcription) on a time-frame consistent with a response to experimental changes in nutrient availability, demonstrating how the often overlooked microbiome of cyanobacterial blooms can be altered. Samples processed at the time of collection (T0) contained abundant transcripts from Bacteroidetes, which reduced in abundance during incubation in all bottles, including controls. Significant biological variability in the expression of Microcystis -infecting phage was observed between replicates, with phosphate-amended treatments showing a 10-fold variation. The expression patterns of Microcystis -infecting phage were significantly correlated with ∼35% of Microcystis -specific functional genes and ∼45% of the cellular-metabolites measured across the entire microbial community, suggesting phage activity not only influenced Microcystis dynamics, but the biochemistry of the microbiome. Our observations demonstrate how natural heterogeneity amongmore »replicates can be harnessed to provide further insight on virus and host ecology.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 16, 2023
  5. Stewart, Frank J. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Raphidiopsis raciborskii and Planktothrix agardhii are filamentous, potentially toxin-producing cyanobacteria that form nuisance blooms in fresh waters. Here, we report high-quality metagenome-assembled genome sequences of R. raciborskii and P. agardhii collected from a bloom in Kissena Lake, New York.
  6. Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (CyanoHABs) commonly increase water column pH to alkaline levels ≥9.2, and to as high as 11. This elevated pH has been suggested to confer a competitive advantage to cyanobacteria such as Microcystis aeruginosa . Yet, there is limited information regarding the restrictive effects bloom-induced pH levels may impose on this cyanobacterium’s competitors. Due to the pH-dependency of biosilicification processes, diatoms (which seasonally both precede and proceed Microcystis blooms in many fresh waters) may be unable to synthesize frustules at these pH levels. We assessed the effects of pH on the ecologically relevant diatom Fragilaria crotonensis in vitro , and on a Lake Erie diatom community in situ . In vitro assays revealed F. crotonensis monocultures exhibited lower growth rates and abundances when cultivated at a starting pH of 9.2 in comparison to pH 7.7. The suppressed growth trends in F. crotonensis were exacerbated when co-cultured with M. aeruginosa at pH conditions and cell densities that simulated a cyanobacteria bloom. Estimates demonstrated a significant decrease in silica (Si) deposition at alkaline pH in both in vitro F. crotonensis cultures and in situ Lake Erie diatom assemblages, after as little as 48 h of alkaline pH-exposure. These observationsmore »indicate elevated pH negatively affected growth rate and diatom silica deposition; in total providing a competitive disadvantage for diatoms. Our observations demonstrate pH likely plays a significant role in bloom succession, creating a potential to prolong summer Microcystis blooms and constrain diatom fall resurgence.« less
  7. Microcystins produced during harmful cyanobacterial blooms are a public health concern. Although patterns are emerging, the environmental cues that stimulate production of microcystin remain confusing, hindering our ability to predict fluctuations in bloom toxicity. In earlier work, growth at cool temperatures relative to optimum (18°C vs. 26°C) was confirmed to increase microcystin quota in batch cultures of Microcystis aeruginosa NIES-843. Here, we tested this response in M. aeruginosa PCC 7806 using continuous cultures to examine temporal dynamics and using RNA-sequencing to investigate the physiological nature of the response. A temperature reduction from 26 to 19°C increased microcystin quota ∼2-fold, from an average of ∼464 ag μm –3 cell volume to ∼891 ag μm –3 over a 7–9 d period. Reverting the temperature to 26°C returned the cellular microcystin quota to ∼489 ag μm –3 . Long periods (31–42 d) at 19°C did not increase or decrease microcystin quota beyond that observed at 7–9 d. Nitrogen concentration had little effect on the overall response. RNA sequencing indicated that the decrease in temperature to 19°C induced a classic cold-stress response in M. aeruginosa PCC 7806, but this operated on a different timescale than the increased microcystin production. Microcystin quota showed a strongmore »48- to 72-h time-lag correlation to mcy gene expression, but no correlation to concurrent mcy expression. This work confirms an effect of temperature on microcystin quota and extends our understanding of the physiological nature of the response.« less