Reducing Surface Accumulation of Aphanizomenon Flos-aquae Using Wetland Water to Increase Cellular Turgor Pressure and Interfere with Buoyancy Regulation

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Lake and Reservoir Management

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The ability to regulate buoyancy (sinking and floating) using cellular gas vesicles is a unique characteristic that allows many common bloom-forming cyanobacteria to accumulate at water surfaces and dominate systems. Typical control and management strategies of cyanobacterial blooms include nutrient manipulation and phosphorus reduction, which are effective but do not reduce the advantage of buoyancy control. Since buoyancy control is based upon a mechanism driven by photosynthesis, along with environmental conditions that trigger vesicle formation and ion exchange, buoyancy regulation can be influenced by manipulating extracellular conditions. In this study, we manipulated extracellular conditions using wetland water and additions of potassium, sodium, and calcium in small-scale lab experiments containing Aphanizomenon flos-aquae from Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. The results indicate a target mixture of 10% wetland water reduces surface accumulation, increases cellular turgor pressure (a measure of the ability of gas vesicle–forming cells to control buoyancy), and leads to fewer cyanobacterial filament rafts near the surface of the water column. By adding ions at the same concentration as the target wetland mixture, similar results were found. This research represents the basis of a possible strategy for mitigating surface blooms of buoyant cyanobacteria in lakes using wetland water and/or ion additions that could be used in tandem with nutrient manipulation and phosphorus reduction.


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