Vertical Heterogeneity of Genotypic Structure and Toxic Potential within Populations of the Harmful Cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa


We investigated the vertical variability of toxic potential (i.e. proportions of cells containing microcystin genes) and genotypic structure within different populations of Microcystis aeruginosa that developed in deep artificial reservoirs on the Loire River (France). We demonstrated that a great qualitative vertical heterogeneity could exist within a single bloom of this cyanobacterium in deep lakes. Indeed, we observed important vertical shifts of both toxic potential and genotypic structure, whatever the bloom magnitude. These variations occurred mainly within the euphotic zone and proved to occur independently from abundance vertical shifts. One of the most striking results of this study is that the genotypic structure of a population of M. aeruginosa was more variable between different depths sampled at a single site than between different sites of the same reservoir sampled on top of the water column. In the same way the proportion of potentially toxic cells was sometimes more variable vertically than horizontally. The occurrence of such vertical heterogeneity in three different blooms suggests that this could be a frequent pattern within populations of M. aeruginosa.

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B. Misson and D. Latour, "Vertical Heterogeneity of Genotypic Structure and Toxic Potential within Populations of the Harmful Cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa," Advances in Microbiology, Vol. 3 No. 6A, 2013, pp. 27-37. doi: 10.4236/aim.2013.36A004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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