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Temperature-Dependent Dispersal Strategies of Aphanizomenon ovalisporum (Nostocales, Cyanobacteria): Implications for the Annual Life Cycle

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Abstract

Aphanizomenon ovalisporum is a planktonic nostocalean cyanobacterium with increasing research interest due to its ability to produce the potent cytotoxin cylindrospermopsin and its potential invasiveness under the global warming scenario. The present study provides novel data on the potential dispersal strategies of A. ovalisporum by analyzing the influence of temperature (10–40 °C) on akinete differentiation and cell morphometry in cultures of A. ovalisporum UAM 290 isolated from a Spanish pond. Our results confirmed a temperature-dependent akinete differentiation, with the maximum akinete production reached at 20 °C (15 % of the cells), a low basal production at 25–30 °C (<0.4 % of the cells) and no detectable production at 35 °C. Furthermore, we reported the fragmentation of A. ovalisporum filaments at temperatures of 25 °C and above. Additionally, we observed that the morphology of vegetative cells varied under different temperature scenarios. Indeed, a strong negative correlation was found between temperature and the width, length and biovolume of vegetative cells, whereas akinete dimensions remained stable along the temperature gradient. Therefore, linear regressions between temperature and the cell size parameters are herein presented aiming to facilitate the identification of A. ovalisporum in the field throughout the course of the year. This is the first study evidencing that akinete production is triggered by temperatures between 20 and 25 °C in A. ovalisporum and reporting the existence of filament fragmentation as a potential dispersal strategy of this species. The importance of these findings for understanding the annual life cycle and invasive potential of A. ovalisporum is further discussed herein.

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Acknowledgments

Samuel Cirés and Lars Wörmer were supported by a FPU grant from Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MICINN, Spain). This study was partially funded by grants from the German Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBF, 0330792, A) and the Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin GmbH with financial support from Veolia Water and Berliner Wasserbetriebe. Our acknowledgment to all members of Molecular Ecology Group from Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB, Germany), especially to Grit Mehnert, Franziska Leunert and Marén Lentz for their valuable help with semi-continuous cultures. We would like to thank Grit Mehnert and two anonymous reviewers for their comments which substantially improved the original manuscript.

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Correspondence to Antonio Quesada.

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Cirés, S., Wörmer, L., Wiedner, C. et al. Temperature-Dependent Dispersal Strategies of Aphanizomenon ovalisporum (Nostocales, Cyanobacteria): Implications for the Annual Life Cycle. Microb Ecol 65, 12–21 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-012-0109-8

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