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The effects of phosphorus and temperature on the competitive success of an invasive cyanobacterium

Authors
  • Ryan, Caitlin N.1, 2
  • Thomas, Mridul K.3, 4, 5
  • Litchman, Elena3, 4
  • 1 State University of New York at Geneseo, Department of Biology, Geneseo, NY, 14454, USA , Geneseo (United States)
  • 2 Second Genome, South San Francisco, CA, 94080, USA , South San Francisco (United States)
  • 3 Michigan State University, W. K. Kellogg Biological Station, Hickory Corners, MI, 49060, USA , Hickory Corners (United States)
  • 4 Michigan State University, Department of Integrative Biology, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA , East Lansing (United States)
  • 5 Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Science and Technology, Department of Aquatic Ecology, Ueberlandstrasse 133, Dübendorf, 8600, Switzerland , Dübendorf (Switzerland)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Aquatic Ecology
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
May 24, 2017
Volume
51
Issue
3
Pages
463–472
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10452-017-9629-0
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

Rising lake temperatures and changing nutrient inputs are believed to favour the spread of a toxic invasive cyanobacterium, Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii (Woloszynska) Seenayya and Subba Raju, in temperate lakes. However, most evidence for these hypotheses is observational or based on physiological measurements in monocultures. We lack clear experimental evidence relating temperature and nutrients to the competitive success of C. raciborskii. To address this, we performed a 2 × 2 factorial laboratory experiment to study the dynamics of mixed phytoplankton communities subjected to different levels of temperature and phosphorus over 51 days. We allowed C. raciborskii to compete with ten different species from major taxonomic groups (diatoms, green algae, cryptophytes, and cyanobacteria) typical of temperate lakes, under low and high summer temperatures (25 and 30 °C) at two levels of phosphorus supply (1 and 25 µmol L−1). Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii dominated the communities and strongly decreased diversity under low-phosphorus conditions, consistent with the hypothesis that it is a good phosphorus competitor. In contrast, it remained extremely rare in high-phosphorus conditions, where fast-growing green algae dominated. Surprisingly, temperature played a negligible role in influencing community composition, suggesting that changes in summer temperature may not be important in determining C. raciborskii’s spread.

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