Journal of Plankton Research
chytrid, cyanobacteria, harmful algal bloom, Planktothrix
Planktothrix agardhii dominates the cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom biomass in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie (USA) from May until September. This filamentous cyanobacterium known parasites including the chytrid fungal species Rhizophydium sp. C02, which was previously isolated from this region. The purpose of our work has been to establish how parasitic interactions affect Planktothrix population dynamics during a bloom event. Samples analyzed from the 2015 to 2019 bloom seasons using quantitative PCR investigate the spatial and temporal prevalence of chytrid infections. Abiotic factors examined in lab include manipulating temperature (17-31°C), conductivity (0.226-1.225 mS/cm) and turbulence. Planktothrix-specific chytrids are present throughout the bloom period and are occasionally at high enough densities to exert parasitic pressure on their hosts. Temperatures above 27.1°C in lab can inhibit chytrid infection, indicating the presence of a possible upper thermal refuge for the host. Data suggest that chytrids can survive conductivity spikes in lab at levels three-fold above Sandusky Bay waters if given sufficient time (7-12 days), whereas increased turbulence in lab severely inhibits chytrid infections, perhaps due to disruption of chemical signaling. Overall, these data provide insights into the environmental conditions that inhibit chytrid infections during Planktothrix-dominated blooms in temperate waters.
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McKindles, Katelyn M.; Manes, Makayla A.; McKay, R. Michael; Davis, Timothy W.; and Bullerjahn, George S.. (2021). Environmental factors affecting chytrid (Chytridiomycota) infection rates on Planktothrix agardhii. Journal of Plankton Research, 43 (5), 658-672.