Effects of Increasing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Concentrations on Phytoplankton Community Growth and Toxicity during Planktothrix Blooms in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie
Environmental Science and Technology
Sandusky Bay experiences annual toxic cyanobacterial blooms dominated by Planktothrix agardhii/suspensa. To further understand the environmental drivers of these events, we evaluated changes in the growth response and toxicity of the Planktothrix-dominated blooms to nutrient amendments with orthophosphate (PO4) and inorganic and organic forms of dissolved nitrogen (N; ammonium (NH4), nitrate (NO3) and urea) over the bloom season (June - October). We complemented these with a metagenomic analysis of the planktonic microbial community. Our results showed that bloom growth and microcystin (MC) concentrations responded more frequently to additions of dissolved N than PO4, and that the dual addition of NH4 + PO4 and Urea + PO4 yielded the highest MC concentrations in 54% of experiments. Metagenomic analysis confirmed that P. agardhii/suspensa was the primary MC producer. The phylogenetic distribution of nifH revealed that both heterocystous cyanobacteria and heterotrophic proteobacteria had the genetic potential for N2 fixation in Sandusky Bay. These results suggest that as best management practices are developed for P reductions in Sandusky Bay, managers must be aware of the negative implications of not managing N loading into this system as N may significantly impact cyanobacterial bloom size and toxicity.
Davis, Timothy W.; Bullerjahn, George S.; Tuttle, Taylor; McKay, Robert Michael; and Watson, Susan B.. (2015). Effects of Increasing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Concentrations on Phytoplankton Community Growth and Toxicity during Planktothrix Blooms in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie. Environmental Science and Technology, 49 (12), 7197-7207.