Microcystin concentrations and congener composition in relation to environmental variables across 440 north-temperate and boreal lakes

Sci Total Environ. 2023 Apr 28:163811. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.163811. Online ahead of print.


Understanding the environmental conditions and taxa that promote the occurrence of cyanobacterial toxins is imperative for effective management of lake ecosystems. Herein, we modeled total microcystin presence and concentrations with a broad suite of environmental predictors and cyanobacteria community data collected across 440 Canadian lakes using standardized methods. We also conducted a focused analysis targeting 14 microcystin congeners across 190 lakes, to examine how abiotic and biotic factors influence their relative proportions. Microcystins were detected in 30 % of lakes, with the highest total concentrations occurring in the most eutrophic lakes located in ecozones of central Canada. The two most commonly detected congeners were MC-LR (61 % of lakes) and MC-LA (37 % of lakes), while 11 others were detected more sporadically across waterbodies. Congener diversity peaked in central Canada where cyanobacteria biomass was highest. Using a zero-altered hurdle model, the probability of detecting microcystin was best explained by increasing Microcystis biomass, Daphnia and cyclopoid biomass, soluble reactive phosphorus, pH and wind. Microcystin concentrations increased with the biomass of Microcystis and other less dominant cyanobacteria taxa, as well as total phosphorus, cyclopoid copepod biomass, dissolved inorganic carbon and water temperature. Collectively, these models accounted for 34 % and 70 % of the variability, respectively. Based on a multiple factor analysis of microcystin congeners, cyanobacteria community data, environmental and zooplankton data, we found that the relative abundance of most congeners varied according to trophic state and were related to a combination of cyanobacteria genera biomasses and environmental variables.

PMID:37121330 | DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.163811


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