Environmental influences on akinete germination and development in Nodularia spumigena (Cyanobacteriaceae), isolated from the Gippsland Lakes, Victoria, Australia
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This study was carried out to investigate the genesis of N. spumigena blooms by specifically studying the effects of environmental variables (salinity, nitrogen, phosphorus and light) on the germination of N. spumigena akinetes. Optimal conditions for maximum germination and germling growth were determined by exposing akinetes to a range of salinities and nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) concentrations under two different irradiances. At pre-determined time periods, treatments were sampled and the percent germination and length of germlings assessed. The results indicated that akinete germination and germling growth were optimal at salinities from 5 to 25 and significantly reduced outside this range. A positive correlation in germination was observed with increasing nutrient (phosphorus and nitrate) concentration. Similarly, germling growth increased with increasing concentrations of both nutrients. Irradiance significantly influenced both germination and growth during salinity experiments, whereas in nutrient addition experiments, irradiance had no effect on germination; however, growth was significantly influenced during phosphorus addition experiments. Consequently, salinity and light appeared to be most critical in the germination process for N. spumigena akinetes, with phosphorus most important for germling growth. The study showed that N. spumigena may be able to germinate under environmental conditions outside its optimal range, but the growth of the germling is significantly reduced, which in turn suggests that its ability to form a bloom outside its optimal environmental conditions would also be greatly reduced.
KeywordsAkinete germination Algal blooms Cyanobacteria Irradiance Nitrogen Nodularia spumigena Nutrients Phosphorus Salinity
This research was supported by the Gippsland Coastal Board Future Directions and Action Plan Funding Project EG0405-04-16. Authors would also like to thank Dr Assaf Sukenik for assistance with the akinete isolation technique.
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