Virus-like particles associated with Lyngbya majuscula (Cyanophyta; Oscillatoriacea) bloom decline in Moreton Bay, Australia
Expansive blooms of the toxic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula were observed in 2 shallow water regions of Moreton Bay, Australia. The rapid bloom decline (8 to <1 km(2) in <7 d) prompted an investigation of the role of cyanophage viruses in the ecophysiology of L. majuscula. Virus-like particles produced by decaying L. majuscula were observed using electron microscopy. The virus-like particles were similar in morphology to viruses in the genus Cyanostyloviridae. The effect of viruses on L. majuscula photosynthesis was investigated by: (1) creating a virus concentrate using tangential-flow ultrafiltration of seawater surrounding L. majuscula; (2) inoculating L. majuscula with the concentrate; and (3) measuring photosynthetic response using a pulse-amplitude modulated fluorometer. Virus concentrate addition resulted in decreased initial fluorescence, decreased photochemical efficiency and decreased electron transport rate in rapid light curves after 5 d. Viruses present within L. majuscula filaments may play an important role in the bloom dynamics of this ecologically important cyanobacterium.
Keywords: Lyngbya majuscula, cyanophage, virus, lysogeny, marine viruses, phytoplankton, photosynthesis, abundance, seawater