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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 52:33-44 (2008)  -  DOI:

Effect of imbalanced nutrients and immigration on Prymnesium parvum community dominance and toxicity: results from in-lake microcosm experiments

Reagan M. Errera1,*, Daniel L. Roelke1,2, Richard L. Kiesling3, Bryan W. Brooks4, James P. Grover5, Leslie Schwierzke1, Fabiola Ureña-Boeck3, Jason W. Baker5, James L. Pinckney6

1Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, and 2Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, 2258 TAMUS, College Station, Texas 77843-2258, USA
3Environmental Science Institute, University of Texas at Austin and US Geological Survey, 8027 Exchange Drive, Austin, Texas 78754-4733, USA
4Department of Environmental Science and Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97266, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
5Department of Biology and Program in Environmental and Earth Sciences, University of Texas at Arlington, Box 19498, Arlington, Texas 76019, USA
6Marine Science Program and Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208, USA

ABSTRACT: Prymnesium parvum, a haptophyte species, forms harmful blooms, including those that have caused severe fish kills in Texas, USA, over the past 6 yr. We studied P. parvum dynamics using in situ microcosm experiments at Lake Possum Kingdom, Texas, during 3 seasons (fall 2004, winter and spring 2005). Experimental treatments included full and partial nutrient enrichment (encompassing nitrogen [N] and phosphorus [P] deficient treatments), P. parvum immigration and combinations of these factors. In the control and N and P deficient treatments, P. parvum populations dominated the community, but only in the N deficient treatments did P. parvum experience a significant growth in the population. In contrast, when nutrients were not limiting, P. parvum tended to lose its competitive edge to other taxa such as chlorophytes, euglenophytes and diatoms, which then dominated the community. Population growth of P. parvum was also stimulated through immigration, but only during the winter experiment, a period of the year when bloom initiation is common. This finding suggests that movement into the water column may be an important process leading to P. parvum bloom initiation. Toxicity of P. parvum to fish was also affected by the nutrient changes: during conditions of no nutrient addition P. parvum was most toxic; intermediate toxicity was observed under N and P deficient conditions, and full nutrient enrichments resulted in nearly non-toxic conditions.

KEY WORDS: Allelopathy · Phytoplankton · Competition · CHEMTAX  · Nutrient limitation · HAB · Toxins

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Cite this article as: Errera RM, Roelke DL, Kiesling RL, Brooks BW and others (2008) Effect of imbalanced nutrients and immigration on Prymnesium parvum community dominance and toxicity: results from in-lake microcosm experiments. Aquat Microb Ecol 52:33-44.

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