Effects of Microcystis aeruginosa on New Jersey Aquatic Benthic Macroinvertebrates
Stephanie Beck defends her thesis for her MS in Marine Biology and Coastal Sciences. Watch the presentation on Zoom.
As increases in anthropogenic eutrophication and climate change contribute to more severe and frequent cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in freshwater ecosystems worldwide, understanding the effects and consequences cyanobacterial blooms have on aquatic organisms is crucial. Microcystis aeruginosa is one of the most common cyanobacteria taxa found in cyanobacterial blooms, producing a group of potent cyanotoxins. This study examined the effects of Microcystis on aquatic benthic macroinvertebrates, specifically the pollution intolerant taxa Ephemeroptera, the pollution moderately intolerant taxa Zygoptera, and the pollution tolerant taxa Chironomidae. In a controlled lab environment, macroinvertebrates were exposed to approximately 100,000 cells/ml of Microcystis aeruginosa. The survival percentage was lower for macroinvertebrates exposed to Microcystis in all three tolerance groups while corresponding with the pollution tolerance levels of the species. These findings support the notion that cyanobacterial blooms have deleterious effects on freshwater ecosystems and can affect aquatic food webs.