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Keywords:

  • blooms;
  • cyanobacteria;
  • global warming;
  • invasive species;
  • morphology

Summary

Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii is an invasive and potentially toxic cyanobacterium, which has recently spread worldwide, mainly because of its tolerance to a wide range of climatic conditions. C. raciborskii is able to change several traits in response to environmental changes and its morphology is also affected by these changes (especially in nutrients). We also expected temperature to affect the morphology of this cyanobacterium. We examined the growth and morphology of C. raciborskii at different temperatures and compared laboratory results to the morphology of this cyanobacterium in situ. As expected, growth rates increased with temperature. In addition, a high carrying capacity at 32°C suggests that this cyanobacterium is able to form more dense blooms at high temperatures. Fragile trichomes and low growth rates were observed at 12°C. An increase in the growth rate related to temperature resulted in a decrease in trichome length, with shorter trichomes at 32°C. The same pattern was observed in wild populations of C. raciborskii in a tropical reservoir, where shorter trichomes were observed in warmer months, when biomass was highest. This species' high ability to adapt to different environmental conditions throughout the year (i.e., nutrients, temperature) may have provided it with an additional advantage to increase its perennial blooms, mainly in tropical regions.