Annual variation in bloom-forming Microcystis genotypes from an Australian wastewater lagoon

Caitlin Romanis*, Toby Mills, Brett Neilan


Cyanobacteria from the Microcystis genus are commonly responsible for nuisance and potentially toxic algal blooms that disrupt the supply of water from the Western Treatment Plant, Victoria, to the surrounding agricultural districts. It is therefore crucial to develop an understanding of the biological parameters that favour non-toxic bloom formation to reduce disturbances to the water supply. To assess genetic variation within seasonal populations of bloom-forming Microcystis spp. we analysed the algal bloom bacterial populations from the Western Treatment Plant for three consecutive years (2015-2018). Weekly sampling of each lagoon was conducted to capture variation in algal biomass population using metagenomic 16S rRNA sequencing. Bacterial community composition and biodiversity showed a large variation within and throughout the sampling periods; including the emergence of Microcystis as the predominant algal biomass occurring at different time-points throughout the proliferation period each year. This variation may be attributed to environmental parameters such as nutrient availability.

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