Allelopathic effect boosts Chrysosporum ovalisporum dominance
in summer at the expense of Microcystis panniformis in a shallow
coastal water body
Received: 24 August 2016 /Accepted: 23 November 2016 /Published online: 14 December 2016
#Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016
Abstract The increased occurrence of harmful cyanobacterial
species and, with this, higher frequency of cyanobacteria
blooms, closely associated with eutrophication and climate
change, have attracted increasing attention worldwide.
However, competition mechanisms between the different
bloom-forming cyanobacteria species remain to be elucidated.
In this paper, for the first time, the allelopathic effect of the
cyanobacterium Chrysosporum ovalisporum on the cyanobac-
terium Microcystis panniformis is reported. The results of our
study conducted in a Chinese shallow coastal water body dem-
onstrated that the biomass of M. panniformis was relatively low
during the C. ovalisporum blooming period. Co-cultivation of a
C. ovalisporum strain with a M. panniformis strain showed
strong inhibition of the growth of M. panniformis but stimula-
tion of C. ovalisporum. Thus, filtrate of C. ovalisporum culture
had a strong inhibitory effect on the performance of
M. panniformis by decreasing the maximum optical quantum
), the electron transport rate (ETR) of PS II and the
onset of light saturation (I
) and by increasing the alkaline
phosphatase (ALP) activity and superoxide dismutase (SOD)
activity of M. panniformis. Our results suggest that the inter-
specific allelopathic effect plays an important role in the com-
petition between different cyanobacteria species. We foresee
the importance of C. ovalisporum to intensify in a future warm-
er world, not least in small- to medium-sized, warm and high
conductivity coastal water bodies.
Keywords Allelopathy .Chrysosporum ovalisporum .
Microcystis panniformis .Competition .
For multiple decades, competition between phytoplankton
species has been an important topic within aquatic ecology
(Sommer 1989; Wacker et al. 2015). Phytoplankton species
compete for resources through different physiological adapta-
tions (e.g. photosynthetic capacity, nutrient requirement, lux-
ury uptake, mixotrophy and degree of vertical migration)
(Huisman et al. 2004; Legrand et al. 2003;Torresetal.
2015). Also, allelopathy, i.e. the beneficial or harmful effects
of one plant on another plant, is known to be an important
ecological adaptation mechanism employed by phytoplankton
(Legrand et al. 2003). Via secondary metabolites, some phy-
toplanktonspecies may compete successfully with their oppo-
nents (Leflaive and Ten-Hage 2007; Sukenik et al. 2002), and
allelopathy is, therefore, considered an important factor in the
species succession and formation of algal blooms (Bar-Yosef
et al. 2010;Princeetal.2008).
Although allelopathy is acknowledged for its importance,
specific knowledge about its effects remains limited. Several
studies have revealed that secondary metabolites may inhibit
photosynthesis and enzyme activity and produce oxidative
stress (Leflaive and Ten-Hage 2007;Princeetal.2008;
Sukenik et al. 2002). However, a growing number of studies
Responsible editor: Vitor Manuel Oliveira Vasconcelos
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article
(doi:10.1007/s11356-016-8149-0) contains supplementary material,
which is available to authorized users.
College of Fisheries and Life Science, Shanghai Ocean University,
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Silkeborg, Denmark
Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research (SDC),
Environ Sci Pollut Res (2017) 24:4666–4675