Lezcano, M. A., Agha, R., Cires, S., Quesada, A. 2019. Spatial-temporal survey of Microcystis oligopeptide chemotypes in reservoirs with dissimilar waterbody features and their relation to genetic variation. Harmful Algae, 81, 77-85, DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2018.11.009
The ability of cyanobacteria to produce toxins and other secondary metabolites is patchily distributed in natural populations, enabling the use of cellular oligopeptide compositions as markers to classify strains into ecologically-relevant chemotypical subpopulations. The composition and spatiotemporal distribution of Microcystis chemotypes within and among waterbodies was studied at different time scales by analyzing (i) Microcystis strains isolated between 1998 and 2007 from different Spanish reservoirs and (ii) individual Microcystis aeruginosa colonies collected from pelagic and littoral habitats in Valmayor reservoir (Spain) during a bloom. No agreement between chemotypes and both morphotypes and genotypes (based on cpcBA-IGS, 16S-23S rRNA ITS and mcyB genes) was found, suggesting that oligopeptide profiles in individual strains evolve independently across morphospecies and phylogenetic genotypes, and that the diversity of microcystin variants produced cannot be explained by mcyB gene variations alone. The presence of identical chemotypes in spatially-distant reservoirs with dissimilar trophic state, lithology or depth indicate that waterbody characteristics and geographical boundaries weakly affect chemotype composition and distribution. At smaller spatiotemporal scales (i.e. during bloom), M. aeruginosa populations showed high number of chemotypes, as well as marked differences in chemotype composition and relative abundance among the littoral and pelagic habitats. This indicates that the factors influencing chemotype composition, relative abundance and dynamics operate at short spatial and temporal scales, and supports emerging hypotheses about interactions with antagonistic microorganisms as possible drivers for widespread chemical polymorphisms in cyanobacteria.