Environmental factors associated with cyanobacterial assemblages in a mesotrophic subtropical plateau lake: A focus on bloom toxicity.Sci Total Environ. 2021 Jul 10; 777:146052.ST
Harmful algal blooms caused by cyanobacteria have been increasing in frequency worldwide. However, the main environmental drivers of this change are often difficult to identify because of the effects of the interaction between eutrophication and climate change. Recently, filamentous N2-fixing cyanobacteria and non-diazotrophic Microcystis have been observed to be co-existing and undergoing succession in some eutrophic lakes. However, the succession patterns of dominant cyanobacteria and the factors driving this in mesotrophic lakes are not well understood. We hypothesized that the changes in cyanobacterial assemblages in mesotrophic lakes could result in a relatively high risks of toxic blooms, and that these changes are associated with the global climatic changes. We tested these hypotheses using data from the subtropical mesotrophic Lake Erhai. We found that the high spatiotemporal variability in the cyanobacterial community, and the increase in biomass were driven primarily by the growth of bloom-forming cyanobacterial taxa. Species-specific biomasses were related to a different environmental stressor; increases in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations were statistically associated with an increase of Microcystis biomass, whereas increases in surface water temperature favored higher biomass of Pseudanabaena at low transparency and high concentration of phosphorus. In addition, low nitrogen- to- phosphorus ratios were identified as potential determinants of the abundance of N2-fixing Dolichospermum. Furthermore, changes in the concentration of DOC, total nitrogen, pH and water transparency levels were found to affect the composition of Microcystis morphotypes and genotypes mostly. This study highlights that the toxic to non-toxic Microcystis ratio might increase with the water darkening and browning (which occurs in many subtropical plateau lakes). Lake management strategies, therefore, need to consider the toxicity of cyanobacterial assemblages in mesotrophic lakes over the intensity of the cyanobacterial blooms.