, Volume 764, Issue 1, pp 229–240 | Cite as

Spatial- and niche segregation of DCM-forming cyanobacteria in Lake Stechlin (Germany)

  • Géza B. Selmeczy
  • Kálmán Tapolczai
  • Peter Casper
  • Lothar Krienitz
  • Judit Padisák


At low trophic state, stable stratified water columns may provide favorable conditions for adapted phytoplankton species to form deep chlorophyll maxima (DCM). Such maxima occur regularly in Lake Stechlin, mainly contributed by the cyanobacterial species Cyanobium sp. and occasionally by Planktothrix rubescens. In the early twenty-first century, a rapid invasion by nostocalean cyanobacteria occurred in the lake and a number of Dolichospermum species together with Aphanizomenon flos-aquae appeared. As revealed by both microscopic and fluorimetric methods, during the summer stratification of 2013, a multispecific DCM was formed by Cyanobium, Planktothrix rubescens, and A. flos-aquae, however with spatial segregation. Planktothrix occurred in the upper hypolimnion, Aphanizomenon and Cyanobium dominated in the metalimnetic layer. Coexistence of these three cyanoprokaryota is possibly the consequence of different environmental factors limiting them (light, availability of N and P). This study represents a rare case when spatial niche segregation of phytoplankton species occurs in close to equilibrium conditions. DCM formed by Aphanizomenon and Cyanobium was detected by the fluoroprobe; Planktothrix with its different pigment compositions remained largely hidden. Our results indicate the necessity of parallel microscopic investigations and the need of careful calibration when fluorimetric methods are used for detecting cyanobacterial populations.


Aphanizomenon flos-aquae Planktothrix rubescens Cyanobium sp. Deep chlorophyll maximum 



We thank Mr. Michael Sachtleben, Ms. Maren Lentz, Ms. Uta Mallok, and Ms. Monika Papke for their field and laboratory assistance. The project “TemBi—Climate driven changes in biodiversity of microbiota” is granted by the Leibniz society (SAW-2011-IGB-2).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Géza B. Selmeczy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kálmán Tapolczai
    • 1
    • 3
  • Peter Casper
    • 2
  • Lothar Krienitz
    • 2
  • Judit Padisák
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of LimnologyUniversity of PannoniaVeszprémHungary
  2. 2.Department of Experimental LimnologyLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesStechlin-NeuglobsowGermany
  3. 3.INRA, UMR CarrtelThonon-les-Bains CedexFrance
  4. 4.MTA-PE Limnoecology Research GroupVeszprémHungary

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