Abundance and toxicity of Planktothrix rubescens in the pre-alpine Lake Ammersee, Germany

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2009
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Ernst, Bernhard
Höger, Stefan J.
O´Brien, Evelyn
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Harmful Algae. 2009, 8(2), pp. 329-342. ISSN 1568-9883. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2008.07.006
Zusammenfassung

Regular occurrences of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens have been observed in several lakes that have undergone recent re-oligotrophication, e.g. Lake Ammersee. Planktothrix species are known to produce microcystins, potent phosphatase inhibitors that have been associated with morbidities and mortalities in humans and animals. The aim of this study was to characterise the temporal and spatial abundance and toxicity of P. rubescens in Lake Ammersee.
P. rubescens cell densities and biovolumes were calculated via fluorescence image analyses. P. rubescens was present during the entire observation period from 1999 to 2004, albeit at different cell densities. Maximum biovolumes of 45 cm³ m‾² were observed in May 2001. Filaments were regularly distributed over the entire water column during winter and stratified in distinct metalimnic layers during summer, reaching maximum cell densities of ≤15,000 (winter) and ≤77,000 cells ml‾¹ (summer). The results demonstrate that P. rubescens abundance is strongly influenced by water transparency, i.e. illumination in the metalimnion. Moreover, the P. rubescens abundance appears to result from regular phosphate depletion in the epilimnion. possibly additionally benefiting from high nitrogen loads.
Microcystin (MC) was detectable in 27 and 38 of 54 seston samples via HPLC and Adda-ELISA measurements, respectively. The main microcystin congeners in the seston samples were [Asp³]-MC-RR and [Asp³,Dhb7]-MC-RR. Microcystin concentrations correlated significantly with the respective phycoerythrin (PE)-concentrations. The variation in the MC/PE-ratios was low suggesting that the microcystin production of P. rubescens in Lake Ammersee is consistent and indicates that the appearance of P. rubescens coincides with measurable microcystin levels. Moreover, the observation of pronounced metalimnic oxygen depletions appears to be causally related to recurring high P. rubescens abundance.
In conclusion the results suggest that aquatic organisms such as indigenous fish populations (e.g. coregonids) are regularly confronted with potentially adverse P. rubescens densities, which might provide a possible explanation for the often observed impaired health and growth retardation of coregonid populations in P. rubescens containing pre-alpine lakes.

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Fachgebiet (DDC)
570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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Planktothrix, Cyanobacteria, Re-oligotrophication, Phosphorous, Nitrogen, Transparency, Secchi depth, Microcystin, Coregonids, Fish
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ISO 690ERNST, Bernhard, Stefan J. HÖGER, Evelyn O´BRIEN, Daniel R. DIETRICH, 2009. Abundance and toxicity of Planktothrix rubescens in the pre-alpine Lake Ammersee, Germany. In: Harmful Algae. 2009, 8(2), pp. 329-342. ISSN 1568-9883. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2008.07.006
BibTex
@article{Ernst2009Abund-6968,
  year={2009},
  doi={10.1016/j.hal.2008.07.006},
  title={Abundance and toxicity of Planktothrix rubescens in the pre-alpine Lake Ammersee, Germany},
  number={2},
  volume={8},
  issn={1568-9883},
  journal={Harmful Algae},
  pages={329--342},
  author={Ernst, Bernhard and Höger, Stefan J. and O´Brien, Evelyn and Dietrich, Daniel R.}
}
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    <dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">Regular occurrences of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens have been observed in several lakes that have undergone recent re-oligotrophication, e.g. Lake Ammersee. Planktothrix species are known to produce microcystins, potent phosphatase inhibitors that have been associated with morbidities and mortalities in humans and animals. The aim of this study was to characterise the temporal and spatial abundance and toxicity of P. rubescens in Lake Ammersee.&lt;br /&gt;P. rubescens cell densities and biovolumes were calculated via fluorescence image analyses. P. rubescens was present during the entire observation period from 1999 to 2004, albeit at different cell densities. Maximum biovolumes of 45 cm³ m‾² were observed in May 2001. Filaments were regularly distributed over the entire water column during winter and stratified in distinct metalimnic layers during summer, reaching maximum cell densities of ≤15,000 (winter) and ≤77,000 cells ml‾¹  (summer). The results demonstrate that P. rubescens abundance is strongly influenced by water transparency, i.e. illumination in the metalimnion. Moreover, the P. rubescens abundance appears to result from regular phosphate depletion in the epilimnion. possibly additionally benefiting from high nitrogen loads.&lt;br /&gt;Microcystin (MC) was detectable in 27 and 38 of 54 seston samples via HPLC and Adda-ELISA measurements, respectively. The main microcystin congeners in the seston samples were [Asp³]-MC-RR and [Asp³,Dhb7]-MC-RR. Microcystin concentrations correlated significantly with the respective phycoerythrin (PE)-concentrations. The variation in the MC/PE-ratios was low suggesting that the microcystin production of P. rubescens in Lake Ammersee is consistent and indicates that the appearance of P. rubescens coincides with measurable microcystin levels. Moreover, the observation of pronounced metalimnic oxygen depletions appears to be causally related to recurring high P. rubescens abundance.&lt;br /&gt;In conclusion the results suggest that aquatic organisms such as indigenous fish populations (e.g. coregonids) are regularly confronted with potentially adverse P. rubescens densities, which might provide a possible explanation for the often observed impaired health and growth retardation of coregonid populations in P. rubescens containing pre-alpine lakes.</dcterms:abstract>
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