Helsingin yliopisto

 

Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Biodiversity and Phylogeny of Planktic Cyanobacteria in Temperate Freshwater Lakes

Pirjo Wacklin

Doctoral dissertation, June 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, Microbiology.

Currently, the classification used for cyanobacteria is based mainly on morphology. In many cases the classification is known to be incongruent with the phylogeny of cyanobacteria. The evaluation of this classification is complicated by the fact that numerous strains are only described morphologically and have not been isolated. Moreover, the phenotype of many cyanobacterial strains alters during prolonged laboratory cultivation. In this thesis, cyanobacterial strains were isolated from lakes (mainly Lake Tuusulanjärvi) and both morphology and phylogeny of the isolates were investigated. The cyanobacterial community composition in Lake Tuusulanjärvi was followed for two years in order to relate the success of cyanobacterial phenotypes and genotypes to environmental conditions. In addition, molecular biological methods were compared with traditional microscopic enumeration and their ability and usefulness in describing the cyanobacterial diversity was evaluated.

The Anabaena, Aphanizomenon, and Trichormus strains were genetically heterogeneous and polyphyletic. The phylogenetic relationships of the heterocytous cyanobacteria were not congruent with their classification. In contrast to heterocytous cyanobacteria, the phylogenetic relationships of the Snowella and Woronichinia strains, which had not been studied before this thesis, reflected the morphology of strains and followed their current classification. The Snowella strains formed a monophyletic cluster, which was most closely related to the Woronichinia strain. In addition, a new cluster of thin, filamentous cyanobacterial strains identified as Limnothrix redekei was revealed. This cluster was not closely related to any other known cyanobacteria.

The cyanobacterial community composition in Lake Tuusulanjärvi was studied with molecular methods [denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and cloning of the 16S rRNA gene], through enumerations of cyanobacteria under microscope, and by strain isolations. Microcystis, Anabaena/Aphanizomenon, and Synechococcus were the major groups in the cyanobacterial community in Lake Tuusulanjärvi during the two-year monitoring period. These groups showed seasonal succession, and their success was related to different environmental conditions. The major groups of the cyanobacterial community were detected by all used methods. However, cloning gave higher estimates than microscopy for the proportions of heterocytous cyanobacteria and Synechococcus. The differences were probably caused by the high 16S rRNA gene copy numbers in heterotrophic cyanobacteria and by problems in the identification and detection of unicellular cyanobacteria.

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Last updated 07.06.2006

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