High nutrient concentration and temperature alleviated formation of large colonies of Microcystis: Evidence from field investigations and laboratory experiments
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Correlations between Microcystis colony size and environmental factors were investigated in Meiliang Bay and Gonghu Bay of Lake Taihu (China) from 2011 to 2013. Compared with Gonghu Bay, both nutrient concentrations and Microcystis colony sizes were greater in Meiliang Bay. The median colony size (D50: 50% of the total mass of particles smaller than this size) increased from April to August and then decreased until November. In both bays, the average D50 of Microcystis colonies were <100 μm in spring, but colonies within moderate-size (100–500 μm) dominated in summer. The differences in colony size in Meiliang Bay and Gonghu Bay were probably due to horizontal drift driven by the prevailing south wind in summer. Redundancy analysis (RDA) of field data indicated that colony size was negatively related to nutrient concentrations but positively related to air temperature, suggesting that low nutrient concentrations and high air temperature promoted formation of large colonies. To validate the field survey, Microcystis colonies collected from Lake Taihu were cultured at different temperatures (15, 20, 25 and 30 °C) under high and low nutrient concentrations for 9 days. The size of Microcystis colonies significantly decreased when temperature was above 20 °C but had no significant change at 15 °C. The differences in temperature effects on colony formation shown from field and laboratory suggested that the larger colonies in summer were probably due to the longer growth period rather than the higher air temperature and light intensity. In addition, colony size decreased more significantly at high nutrient levels. Therefore, it could be concluded that high nutrient concentration and temperature may alleviate formation of large colonies of Microcystis.
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