Genetic diversity within and genetic differentiation between blooms of a microalgal species. Academic Article uri icon


  • The field of genetic diversity in protists, particularly phytoplankton, is under expansion. However, little is known regarding variation in genetic diversity within populations over time. The aim of our study was to investigate intrapopulation genetic diversity and genetic differentiation in the freshwater bloom-forming microalga Gonyostomum semen (Raphidophyceae). The study covered a 2-year period including all phases of the bloom. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) was used to determine the genetic structure and diversity of the population. Our results showed a significant differentiation between samples collected during the two blooms from consecutive years. Also, an increase of gene diversity and a loss of differentiation among sampling dates were observed over time within a single bloom. The latter observations may reflect the continuous germination of cysts from the sediment. The life cycle characteristics of G.?semen, particularly reproduction and recruitment, most likely explain a high proportion of the observed variation. This study highlights the importance of the life cycle for the intraspecific genetic diversity of microbial species, which alternates between sexual and asexual reproduction.

publication date

  • September 2012