ECOLOGICAL STRATEGIES THAT HELP CYANOBACTERIA DOMINATE THE WORLD
Cyanobacteria have numerous physiological and structural features that allow them to thrive and often out-compete other organisms. These advantages can lead to massive accumulations of cells, commonly called blooms, that impact aesthetics, water quality and the ecological health of the aquatic system. One advantage that promotes cyanobacterial blooms in planktonic species is the ability to regulate buoyancy. Internal structures, the gas vesicles, along with the photosynthetic accumulation glycogen and its utilization, lead to a diurnal migration of cells in the water column. While cells are on their migration, they are able to maximize photosynthesis using an array of photosynthetic and auxiliary pigments that adjust to light quantity and quality. At the lower part of their migration, they are able to over-accumulate phosphorus that is liberated from sediments utilizing the process of luxuriant uptake and storage in a polyphosphate body. As surface waters become depleted in this key nutrient, the cyanobacteria that migrate have this key advantage over other organisms. As biotic and abiotic factors become limited, the migration process is interrupted, stranding organisms at the surface of a waterbody.
Rosen, B. H., USGS, USA, email@example.com
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