Associated heterotrophic bacteria alter the microenvironment of cyanobacteria and potentially influence cyanobacterial development. Therefore, we studied interactions of the unicellular freshwater cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa with heterotrophic bacteria. The associated bacterial community was greatly driven by temperature as seen by DNA Wngerprinting. However, the associated microbes also closely interacted with the cyanobacteria indicating changing ecological consequence of the associated bacterial community with temperature. Whereas concentration of dissolved organic carbon in cyanobacterial cultures changed in a temperature-dependent manner, its quality greatly varied under the same environmental conditions, but with different associated bacterial communities. Furthermore, temperature affected quantity and quality of cell-bound microcystins, whereby interactions between M. aeruginosa and their associated community often masked this temperature effect. Both macro- and microenvironment of active cyanobacterial strains were characterized by high pH and oxygen values creating a unique habitat that potentially affects microbial diversity and function. For example, archaea including ‘anaerobic’ methanogens contributed to the associated microbial community. This implies so far uncharacterized interactions between Microcystis aeruginosa and its associated prokaryotic community, which has unknown ecological consequences in a climatically changing world.
Marine Biology, 2012, Vol 159, Issue 11, p. 2389-2398