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Cyanobacterial dominance in Brazil: distribution and environmental preferences

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  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography


Based on a literature survey, we evaluated the periods of cyanobacterial dominance in Brazil. We hypothesized that variability of environmental forces along the country will promote or facilitate temporal and spatial mosaic in cyanobacterial dominance. The most striking outcomes are related to the dominance of Cylindrospermopsis, Dolichospermum, and Microcystis. Although they share important adaptive strategies (e.g., aerotopes, large size and toxins production), our findings suggest that they have different environmental preferences. Dolichospermum and Microcystis dominated mainly in warm-rainy periods whereas Cylindrospermopsis was more common during dry periods and in mixed systems, or formed perennial dominance. Maximum phosphorus concentrations were observed in reservoirs dominated by Cylindrospermopsis. Although the main genera reached high biomass levels individually, different abilities to form dominance and co-dominance were observed. The number of co-dominance of Chroococales and Nostocales was almost the same as the individual occurrence of the main genera from these groups. This dataset reveals patterns of dominance of these cyanobacteria and also indicates that physiological features will cause differences in the mechanisms of interactions between species. The understanding of these processes and their relationship to environmental conditions will promote better understanding of cyanobacterial dominance and increase our ability to predict and manage these events.

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