Competition between cyanobacteria and green algae affects phytoplankton succession and the well-known cyanobacteria blooms. Climate warming and water acidification are two concerned environmental issues changing the freshwater ecosystems. To investigate the competitive responses of phytoplankton to warming and acidification, we co-cultured Microcystis aeruginosa and Scenedesmus obliquus at a temperature range of 15–35 °C and a pH range of 5–9. Results showed that S. obliquus was superior competitor at 15 °C. At 20–30 °C, the populations of both Scenedesmus and Microcystis were inhibited by the presence of each other. S. obliquus was in competitive domination at the initial phase of cultivation, but was finally replaced by M. aeruginosa. Microcystis kept competition advantage at 35 °C, whereas Scenedesmus outcompeted Microcystis at acidic conditions (pH ≤ 6). Neutral and weakly alkaline conditions (pH 7–9) supported the replacement of competition domination from Scenedesmus to Microcystis. The present study revealed that climate warming may accelerate the phytoplankton succession from green algae to cyanobacteria, with the predicted promoted cyanobacteria blooms. Nonetheless, water acidification causes Microcystis to be a weak competitor with green algae, suggesting that the advantageous effect of Microcystis toward green algae at high temperatures was controlled by other variables like the water pH.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 2, 2017
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