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Huber and collaborators reported in this issue of Environmental Microbiology about freshwater picocyanobacteria that showed phenotypic plasticity in the sense that they appeared as single cells as well as in aggregates. The authors suggested that aggregation might be an inducible defense as a response to the presence of grazers. This has been described for eukaryotic phytoplankton and for the cyanobacterium Microcystis but thus far not for picocyanobacteria. Although inducible defense as an explanation is an attractive possibility, it is also problematic. Aggregation is common among cyanobacteria and it offers many advantages as compared to a free-living lifestyle. Here these advantages are highlighted and the possibility of inducible defense is critically assessed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Environmental microbiology
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A phylum of oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria comprised of unicellular to multicellular bacteria possessing CHLOROPHYLL a and carrying out oxygenic PHOTOSYNTHESIS. Cyanobacteria are the only known organisms capable of fixing both CARBON DIOXIDE (in the presence of light) and NITROGEN. Cell morphology can include nitrogen-fixing heterocysts and/or resting cells called akinetes. Formerly called blue-green algae, cyanobacteria were traditionally treated as ALGAE.
An order of wholly aquatic MAMMALS occurring in all the OCEANS and adjoining seas of the world, as well as in certain river systems. They feed generally on FISHES, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Most are gregarious and most have a relatively long period of parental care and maturation. Included are DOLPHINS; PORPOISES; and WHALES. (From Walker's Mammals of the World, 5th ed, pp969-70)
A form-genus of planktonic CYANOBACTERIA in the order Nostocales.
A nitrogen-fixing genus of filamentous cyanobacteria that occurs in tropical and subtropical oceans.
A form-genus of CYANOBACTERIA in the order Chroococcales. Many species are planktonic and possess gas vacuoles.