Microbial Observatory at North Temperate Lakes LTER Spatial and temporal cyanobacterial population dynamics in Lake Mendota 2009 - 2011
Toxic cyanobacterial blooms threaten freshwaters worldwide but have proven difficult to predict because the mechanisms of bloom formation and toxin production are unknown, especially on weekly time scales. Water quality management continues to focus on aggregated metrics, such as chlorophyll and total nutrients, which may not be sufficient to explain complex community changes and functions such as toxin production. For example, nitrogen (N) speciation and cycling play an important role, on daily time scales, in shaping cyanobacterial communities because declining N has been shown to select for N fixers. In addition, subsequent N pulses from N<sub>2</sub> fixation may stimulate and sustain toxic cyanobacterial growth. Herein, we describe how rapid early summer declines in N followed by bursts of N fixation have shaped cyanobacterial communities in a eutrophic lake (Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, USA), possibly driving toxic <em>Microcystis</em> blooms throughout the growing season. On weekly time scales in 2010 and *2011, we monitored the cyanobacterial community in a eutrophic lake using the phycocyanin intergenic spacer (PC-IGS) region to determine population dynamics. In parallel, we measured microcystin concentrations, N<sub>2</sub> fixation rates, and potential environmental drivers that contribute to structuring the community.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #DEB-2025982, NTL LTER. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.