Skip to main content

Genetic and environmental factors influencing Microcystis bloom toxicity

Microcystis community structure and microcystin production are  controlled by both environmental factors (such as light, nutrients,  grazing pressure) and genetic composition.  Essential for forecasting  blooms of toxic Microcystis is the ability to determine the toxicity  of a bloom, which requires knowing both the number of toxic genotypes  present and environmental regulators of toxin production.  This  project will expand the use molecular tools that have been developed  to look at both the genetic and environmental factors controlling  microcystin production.  A quantitative PCR assay will be adapted to  quantify not only the number of potentially toxic strains present, but  also how many are actively expressing the microcystin synthetase  genes.  The mcyB genotypes of these strains will also be compared with  the microcystin congeners that are present to determine if preliminary  evidence suggesting a relationship between these two is significant.   Finally, the distribution of a potential new cyanobacterial HAB  invader, Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, will be assessed using  samples collected across Lake Erie during the summers of 2  6 and  2  7.  The expected results of this project will be useful in  developing models for forecasting the growth and toxin production in  Microcystis blooms in the Great Lakes and identify the potential for a  new invasive cyanobacterial HAB in this system.

In progress
Start Date
End Date
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Impact of Pollutants
Exotic Species
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Erie
Biology And Life History
Ecosystem Effects
Nutrient / Contaminant Cycles
Spread of Established ANS Populations
Predictive Models
Socio-economic Consideration and Analysis
Human Health Aspects
Aquatic Nuisance Species

The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is an
interactive, Internet-based, searchable database created as a tool to collect and disseminate
up-to-date information about research projects in the
Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.