Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms are a biological disturbance to Western Lake Erie bacterial communities

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Authors Michelle A. Berry, Timothy W. Davis, Rose M. Cory, Melissa B. Duhaime, Thomas H. Johengen, George W. Kling, John A. Marino, Paul A. Den Uyl, Duane Gossiaux, Gregory J. Dick, Vincent J. Denef
Journal/Conference Name Microbial Ecology
Paper Category , ,
Paper Abstract Human activities are causing a global proliferation of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs), yet we have limited understanding of how these events affect freshwater bacterial communities. Using weekly data from western Lake Erie in 2014, we investigated how the cyanobacterial community varied over space and time, and whether the bloom affected non-cyanobacterial (nc-bacterial) diversity and composition. Cyanobacterial community composition fluctuated dynamically during the bloom, but was dominated by Microcystis and Synechococcus OTUs. The bloom's progression revealed potential impacts to nc-bacterial diversity. Nc-bacterial evenness displayed linear, unimodal, or no response to algal pigment levels, depending on the taxonomic group. In addition, the bloom coincided with a large shift in nc-bacterial community composition. These shifts could be partitioned into components predicted by pH, chlorophyll a, temperature, and water mass movements. Actinobacteria OTUs showed particularly strong correlations to bloom dynamics. AcI-C OTUs became more abundant, while acI-A and acI-B OTUs declined during the bloom, providing evidence of niche partitioning at the sub-clade level. Thus, our observations in western Lake Erie support a link between CHABs and disturbances to bacterial community diversity and composition. Additionally, the short recovery of many taxa after the bloom indicates that bacterial communities may exhibit resilience to CHABs.
Date of publication 2016
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