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The production of toxins by bloom-forming cyanobacteria can lead to public health crises, such as the one experienced by the city of Toledo (Ohio) in August 2014, when the city was rendered without drinking water for multiple days. To provide a scientific framework, samples were collected and metatranscriptomes of the planktonic community were generated in concert with the collection of standard limnological measurements. Together, these data were used to generate a basin-wide ecophysiological fingerprint of Lake Erie Microcystis populations for August 2014, and subsequently contrasted to similar efforts from 2012 and 2013. When combined with geochemical observations, our data demonstrate the conditions necessary to support Microcystis blooms that occur regularly within the western basin of Lake Erie. These conditions include a significant upregulation of urea-utilizing genes in Microcystis in the absence of transcripts for the biological generation of urea (implying an external source for urea). Unique to 2014, a significant infection of Microcystis populations by viruses suggests a transformation of microcystin from the particulate to the dissolved phase was occuring, potentially leading to an underestimation of the risk of microcystins by water treatment facilities that use particulate estimates of toxin or surrogates such as phycocyanin or chlorophyll a sensors. The observations within these data sets will be used to set the stage for how Microcystis bloom events may be evolving in Lake Erie and provide insight into how future events may be more efficiently dealt with.


Steffen, M. M., James Madison, USA,

Davis , T. W., NOAA-GLERL, USA,

Stough, J. A., University of Tennessee, USA,

McKay, R. M., Bowling Green State University, USA,

Bullerjahn, G. S., Bowling Green State University, USA,

Krausfeldt, L. E., University of Tennessee, USA,

Boyer, G. L., SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, USA,

Johengen, T. H., CILER - University of Michigan, USA,

Gossiaux, D. C., NOAA GLERL, USA,

Burtner, A., CILER - University of Michigan, USA,

Palladino, D., CILER - University of Michigan, Uruguay,

Rowe, M. D., CILER - University of Michigan, USA,

Dick, G. J., University of Michigan, USA,

Myer, K. A., University of Michigan, USA,

Levy, S., Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology, USA,

Boone, B., Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology, USA,

Wilhelm, S. W., University of Tennessee, USA,


Oral presentation

Session #:021
Date: 03/02/2017
Time: 12:15
Location: 323 B

Presentation is given by student: No