Effects of Phosphorus on Interspecific Competition between two cell-size Cyanobacteria: Synechococcus sp. and Microcystis aeruginosa

  • Xiao Tan
  • Huihui Gu
  • Xidong Zhang
  • Keshab Parajuli
  • Zhipeng DuanEmail author


Pico-cyanobacteria and micro-cyanobacteria coexist ubiquitously in many lakes. Differences in cell size and abilities to utilize nutrients may influence their distribution patterns. In this study, Synechococcus sp. and Microcystis aeruginosa were chosen as pico- and micro-cyanobacteria, respectively. Gradient phosphorus treatments (0.002, 0.01, 0.05, and 0.25 mg P L−1) were designed in mono- and co-cultures. Growth curves were recorded and fitted by the Monod equation. Moreover, the interspecific competition was analyzed by the Lotka–Volterra model. When mono-cultured in lower P conditions (≤ 0.01 mg P L−1), Synechococcus sp. obtained much higher biomass than M. aeruginosa. But, M. aeruginosa grew faster than Synechococcus sp. in higher P groups (≥ 0.05 mg P L−1) (p < 0.05). Synechococcus sp. has abilities to thrive in low-phosphorus environments, whereas M. aeruginosa favored high-phosphorus conditions. In co-cultures, Synechococcus sp. strongly inhibited M. aeruginosa at each P treatment.


Phosphorus Pico-cyanobacteria Micro-cyanobacteria Blooms Biomass Interspecific competition 



This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470507), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2019B14014), the National Water Pollution Control and Treatment Science and Technology Major Project (2017ZX07603) and the project funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao Tan
    • 1
  • Huihui Gu
    • 1
  • Xidong Zhang
    • 2
  • Keshab Parajuli
    • 3
  • Zhipeng Duan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resource Development on Shallow Lakes, Ministry of Education, College of EnvironmentHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Nanjing Foreign Language SchoolNanjingChina
  3. 3.Origin Energy LimitedAdelaideAustralia

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