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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2011 Nov;78(2):336-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01162.x. Epub 2011 Jul 29.

Genetic diversity of cyanobacteria in four eutrophic lakes.

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Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53201, USA.


Recent studies indicate genetic diversity of cyanobacteria in eutrophic lakes is not represented well by culture collections or morphology. Yet, few studies have investigated genetic richness and evenness of cyanobacteria using culture-independent methods. We compared the genetic structure of cyanobacteria supported by four neighboring eutrophic lakes during the ice-free season. The partial phycobilincpcB/A genes plus intergenic spacer (PC-IGS) was used as a genetic marker.Sequences were phylogeneticallygrouped by maximum likelihood into genotypes representing sub-genera of the major taxa. Genotypes fell into genera commonly observed by microscopy in these lakes including Microcystis, Aphanizomenon, Chroococcus, Anabaena, and Cylindrospermopsis. Only three genotypes were shared among all four lakes, despite significant water flowage between lakes.A Parsimony P-test indicated lakes were significantly (p=0.01) clustered on the maximum likelihood tree. Pairwise differences using Unifrac distance were moderately or not significant. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicated genetic variation among all genotypes (φ=0.06, p<0.001) and 94% of variability occurred within lakes rather than between lakes (6%), explaining the lack of pairwise differences between lakes. Lorenze curves of genotype abundance in each lake showed genetic structure was only moderately uneven (Gini coefficients of 0.37-0.5) indicating lakes did not support dominant genotypes. Overall, results from this study suggest diversity of cyanobacteria is shaped by heterogeneity within lakes (temporally or spatially) and relatively even population structures.

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