Microbial Ecology

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 163–173 | Cite as

Distinct Bloom Dynamics of Toxic and Non-toxic Microcystis (Cyanobacteria) Subpopulations in Hoedong Reservoir (Korea)

  • Bum Soo Park
  • Zhun Li
  • Yoon-Ho Kang
  • Hyeon Ho Shin
  • Jae-Hyoung JooEmail author
  • Myung-Soo HanEmail author
Environmental Microbiology


Despite the importance of understanding the bloom mechanisms that influence cyanobacterial toxin production, the dynamics of toxic Microcystis subpopulations are largely unknown. Here, we quantified both toxic and entire (i.e., toxic and non-toxic) Microcystis populations based on the microcystin synthetase E (mcyE) and 16S ribosomal RNA genes. Samples were collected from pelagic water and sediments twice per week from October to December 2011, and we investigated the effects of physicochemical factors (pH, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, etc.) and biological factors (ciliates and zooplankton) on the abundance of toxic and non-toxic Microcystis. During the study period, Microcystis blooms were composed of toxic and non-toxic subpopulations. Resting stage Microcystis in sediment may be closely linked to Microcystis populations in pelagic water and may contribute to the toxic subpopulation composition in surface Microcystis blooms. In pelagic water, the toxic and entire Microcystis population had a significant positive correlation with the pH and water temperature (p < 0.05). However, their responses to changes in environmental factors were thought to be distinct. The ratio of the toxic to non-toxic Microcystis subpopulations was significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced by a lower pH and water temperature and an increase in protozoan grazers, reflecting environmental stresses. These results suggest that the toxic and non-toxic subpopulations of Microcystis have distinct tolerance levels against these stressors. The intracellular microcystin (MC) concentration was positively associated with the abundance of the mcyE-positive Microcystis. By comparison, the MC concentration in pelagic water body (extracellular) increased when Microcystis was lysed due to environmental stresses.


Cyanobacterial bloom Toxic Microcystis subpopulation Environmental stress Predation pressure 



This work was supported by a Mid-career Researcher Program (2015R1A2A2A01008115) through an NRF (National Research Foundation), grant funded by the MEST (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology), and a grant from the Marine Biotechnology Program Funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

Supplementary material

248_2017_1030_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life ScienceHanyang UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Marine Science InstituteUniversity of Texas at AustinPort AransasUSA
  3. 3.Library of Marine SamplesKorea Institute of Ocean Science and TechnologyGeojeSouth Korea
  4. 4.Monitoring and Analysis DivisionWonju Regional Environmental OfficeWonjuSouth Korea
  5. 5.Research Institute for Natural SciencesHanyang UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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