• Project No 4526
  • Project Name Microcystis blooms - insights from genomics and metagenomics
  • Lead Organisation Melbourne Water
  • Research Lead University of Newcastle
  • Main Researcher Caitlin Romanis

National Research Priority: Supply Optimisation

Project Description

The genus Microcystis is responsible for many ‘nuisance’ and toxic algal blooms that threaten various fresh water bodies in Australia. Of particular importance is the taxa Microcystis aeruginosa which is highly prevalent and contains a deep pangenome, leading to substantial genomic variability between strains. It has been established that certain cyanobacteria, including hepatotoxic Microcystis species, annually transition between planktonic and benthic forms. Benthic-planktonic coupling has been associated with an increase in the abundance of Microcystis during spring and summer, often resulting in dense surface blooms, followed by the sedimentation of colonies to the benthos during the cooler months. In order to improve industry predictions of the risk, timing and severity of toxic Microcystis blooms, this project aims to investigate the biological mechanisms and environmental triggers that cause bloom development. Through a range of classical isolation techniques and various ‘-omic’ studies this project will study the recruitment of benthic dwelling Microcystis species to surface waters.

PhD Thesis completed by Caitlin Romanis.