Nitrogen-Fixing Anabaena: Physiological Adaptations Instrumental in Maintaining Surface Blooms

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Science  11 May 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4393, pp. 620-622
DOI: 10.1126/science.204.4393.620


Both laboratory and in situ studies indicate that the nitrogen-fixing blue-green nuisance algae Anabaena spp. have developed adaptive means of dominating surface lake waters. During the dramatic diurnal shifts in surface light intensity and oxygen saturation accompanying blooms, Anabaena can overcome oxygen toxicity by sequential optimization of carbon dioxide and nitrogen fixation and by pigment alteration. These mechanisms allow optimal utilization of the radiant energy while minimizing competition for photoreductant between two main energy-demanding processes.