Source: OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY submitted to
ORGANIZATION TO MINIMIZE PHOSPHORUS LOSSES FROM AGRICULTURE
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0213737
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
ORE00273A
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
SERA-17
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2008
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2013
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Dreher, T.
Recipient Organization
OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
(N/A)
CORVALLIS,OR 97331
Performing Department
Microbiology
Non Technical Summary
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) in freshwater lakes and reservoirs are caused by cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae). The blooms can choke reservoirs and be unsightly, but more seriously, they can be associated with potent liver or nerve toxins. Further, blooms can rapidly decline as cells burst in mass, feeding the growth of other microbes and leading to depletion of oxygen. Such anoxic conditions can lead to large-scale fish kills. Cyanobacteria HABs often occur in response to inputs of excess phosphorus from farming or other activities. Identification of the precise species of cyanobacteria in blooms is made with the use of a microscope, but the accuracy and resolution of this technique is limited. We are developing DNA-based genetic identification methods that will provide accurate identification. This will allow better management decisions.
Animal Health Component
10%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
(N/A)
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1110210107030%
1110310108030%
1114010110040%
Goals / Objectives
Gather, assimilate, interpret, and disseminate information to increase the knowledge base on P linkages and dynamics within and between the land-water continuum and the environment. Develop practical and cost effective BMPs that limit P in the runoff while also reducing N losses to the environment. Improve national efforts on assessment and modeling of P movement in the environment. Identify emerging nutrient-related issues and inform policy makers and other stakeholders.
Project Methods
Molecular methods of DNA amplification and sequencing will be used to identify cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that cause large-scale blooms that are often toxic. These blooms are often termed Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). The blooms respond to increased nutrient inputs into lakes and reservoirs, particularly phosphorus inputs. Identification using modern genetic techniques is needed to overcome the difficulties and inaccuracies in traditional microscope-based identification. The methods used will employ PCR amplification and DNA sequencing. Genetic identifications will be made available to lake and reservoir managers to improve their knowledge and decision-making abilities with respect to HABs.

Progress 10/01/08 to 09/30/13

Outputs
Target Audience:The target audiences have been (1) thescientific community,reached via publications and conference presentations, and (2) stakeholder communities consisting of lake managers, drinking water utilities, etc., reached through outreach that included hosting annual stekeholder meetings and Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom workshops. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Two graduate students, a postdoctoral researcherand three undergraduate student researchers were peripherally involved in this project while studying molecular genetics aspects of bloom-forming cyanobacteria. Theybenefitted by learnign about concerns of stakeholders with regardto cyanobacteial harmful algal blooms. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?By journal publications and through stakeholde meetings and training workshops, as mentioned above. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? The objectives were indirectly addressed by developing understanding of blooms and their dynamics and toxicity, in order to provide information that others could use to prioritize localities where P and N nutrient input limitations could be worked towards. The increasinglywidespread nature of cyanobacterial blooms has necessitated a process for assessing where the problems are greatest and where nutrient inputs might be most feasibly reduced.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2010 Citation: BOZARTH, C.S., SCHWARTZ, A.D., SHEPARDSON, J.W., COLWELL, F.S. and DREHER, T.W.� (2010) Population turnover in a�Microcystis�bloom results in predominantly nontoxigenic variants late in the season.�Appl Environ Microbiol.�76:5207-13. DREHER, T.W., BROWN, N, BOZARTH, CS., SCHWARTZ, A.D., RISCOE, E., THRASH, J.C., BENNETT, S.E., TZENG, S.-C., and MAIER, C.S. (2011) A freshwater cyanophage whose genome indicates close relationships to photosynthetic marine cyanomyophages.�Environ. Microbiol.�13:1858-74.


Progress 10/01/11 to 09/30/12

Outputs
Target Audience: Scientists and policy makers (public health and legislators) Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Dr. Connie Bozarth, a postdoctoral research associate, and Jon Shepardson, undergraduate student in Microbiology, were the participants in this project. For Mr. Shepardson, who has participated in this research for over three years, this project has provided an excellent springboard for his career. He has developed many skills and considerable maturity as a scientist. He has continued as a Research Assistant after graduating in June and is considering enrolling in graduate school. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Dr. Dreher was a presenter and panelist at the November 30, 2011, monthly meeting of the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council (Lowell, OR; c/. 40 attendees, including members of two US senator's staffs) discussing our research on potentially toxic cyanobacterial blooms in lakes used for drinking water. In March 2012, Dr. Dreher was a presenter and participant at the Oregon Harmful Algal Blooms Stakeholder Meeting (Oregon Health Authority, Eugene; 30 attendees). We organized and co-presented the annual Workshop on Cyanobacteria Harmful Algae Blooms and Water Quality at Oregon State University (April 2012, c. 30 attendees). We presented at the annual meeting of the Oregon Lakes Association (Crater Lake, OR, September 2012, c. 40 attendees). Dr. Dreher was elected to the board of the Oregon Lakes Association (2012-15), a group that provides opportunities to advance concerns about the environmental health of lakes. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? In the coming year, we will complete our two-year study on the potentially toxic cyanobacterial blooms that have the potential to impact the drinking water of four Willamette Valley communities. This year, we were successful in obtaining a 3-year USGS research grant to study three lakes that suffer Anabaena-dominated blooms: this will allow continued study of Dexter Reservoir and two mid-western lakes that have been the subject of long-term studies. The aim is to incorporate genetic identification of cyanobacteria, other potentially synergistic bacteria, and of cyanophages to nutrient and other data in deriving a model for predicting cyanobacterial blooms.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? We have completed one year of a new two-year State of Oregon grant to study the potentially toxic cyanobacterial blooms that have the potential to impact the drinking water of four Willamette Valley communities. We have collected many samples from blooms in three reservoirs that suffer Anabaena-dominated blooms and have obtained raw water samples from drinking water utilities whose water originates from those lakes. To date, evidence indicates no or only low levels of toxicity, a new finding for these previously uncharacterized blooms. The intention is to obtain information on the toxigenic nature of these blooms, so that this specific information might be used to refine public health decisions when blooms appear in these lakes.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2012 Citation: DREHER, T.W. and BOZARTH, C.S. (2012) Harmful Algal Blooms: What can genetic techniques reveal? Lakeline, Fall 2012: pp. 12-16


Progress 10/01/10 to 09/30/11

Outputs
Target Audience: Scientific community, international, national and local and local government (State of Oregon) officials regulating cyanobacterial blooms Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Dr. Connie Bozarth, a postdoctoral research associate, Andrew Schwartz, MS student in Microbiology, and Jon Shepardson and Erin Riscoe, undergraduate students in Microbiology, were the participants in this project. For the two students, the project has provided an excellent opportunity for development as scientists. Mr. Schwartz has developed extensive bioinformatics experience, which was a key contribution to interpreting the genome of phage S-CRM01; he was a key author of that paper, which was part of his MS thesis completed this year. The two undergraduate students gained the valuable experience of working on publishable research. Ms. Riscoe was an author on the journal article published this year, in recognition of the PCR analyses she conducted in order to track the distribution of phage S-CRS01in the Klamath watershed. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? The results describing the novel phage S-CRS01 were published in the international journal, Environmental Microbiology (audience >2,000 readers). We presented a poster describing our cyanobacterial and cyanophage research at the annual meeting of the Oregon Lakes Association (Portland, OR; c. 40 attendees), and presented two oral presentations at the North American Lakes Management Society annual meeting (Spokane, WA, c. 50 attendees). What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? During this year, we have obtained a grant from the State of Oregon for a two-year study of the potentially toxic cyanobacterial blooms that have the potential to impact the drinking water of four Willamette Valley communities. We will be focusing on describing the Anabaena-dominated blooms that occur in three reservoirs in the Cascade Range foothills and the cyanotoxins and toxin genes present in those lakes and in the raw water of the four cities. Risk to drinking water supplies is one of the most serious threats posed by cyanobacterial blooms, and a strong driver to reversing the P pollution that often drives these blooms.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Studies based on the Klamath watershed led to the isolation of a novel bacteriophage associated with the Microcystis blooms in Copco Reservoir. Phage S-CRM01 is a novel T4-like myophage that infects Synechococcus/Cyanobium cyanobacteria, and is present widely in the Klamath system, both in the Microcystis-dominated Copco Reservoir and in the Aphanizomenon-dominated Upper Klamath Lake. By recycling nutrients as they infect and kill their hosts, cyanophages may play significant roles in regulating the P cycles in lakes and reservoirs. A beneficial role could be to regulate cyanobacterial populations in order to prevent mass blooms, or to regulate the proportion of toxic and non-toxic cyanobacteria. Further research will investigate such roles, particularly with regard to Microcystis-infecting phages.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2011 Citation: DREHER, T.W., BROWN, N, BOZARTH, CS., SCHWARTZ, A.D., RISCOE, E., THRASH, J.C., BENNETT, S.E., TZENG, S.-C., and MAIER, C.S. (2011) A freshwater cyanophage whose genome indicates close relationships to photosynthetic marine cyanomyophages. Environ. Microbiol. 13:1858-74.


Progress 01/01/10 to 09/30/10

Outputs
Target Audience: Scientific community Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Dr. Connie Bozarth, a postdoctoral research associate, Andrew Schwartz, MS student in Microbiology, and Jon Shepardson and Erin Riscoe, undergraduate students in Microbiology, were the participants in this project. For the two students, the project has provided an excellent opportunity for development as a scientist. Mr. Schwartz has developed extensive bioinformatics experience, and the two undergraduate students gained the valuable experience of working on publishable research. Mr. Shepardson was an author on the journal article published this year, in recognition of the quantitative PCR assays he conducted in order to follow the proportion of toxic and non-toxic Microcystis. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? The results of our study of Microcystis in Copco Reservoir on the Klamath River were published in the widely read American Society for Microbiology journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology (audience of >2000 readers). We presented a talk and poster on our research at the Klamath Basin Science Conference, Medford, OR, February 2010 (c. 200 attendees, including scientists, policy makers, environmental consultants). We again organized the annual Toxic Cyanobacteria Technical Workshop at Oregon State University, 5 April, 2010 (c. 40 attendees; governmental agency employees). What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Our studies on the Microcystis populations in the Klamath watershed will be augmented by studies in two directions. First, we will explore the role of bacteriophages that infect cyanobacteria, with a view to investigating their potential role in leading to the population successions we described in this year's Applied and Environmental Microbiology paper. Very little is known about the bacteriophages infecting fresh water cyanobacteria. Secondly, we will expand our attention to other cyanobacterial blooms elsewhere in the inland Pacific Northwest. In particular, Anabaena-dominated blooms are common, but their toxicity is unknown.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Studies focused on the Klamath watershed and description of Microcystis blooms in the Copco Reservoir and Upper Klamath Lake. Studies showing the existence of genetically identifiable sub-types among morphologically indistinguishable Microcystis were important in providing a higher resolution understanding of the bloom constituents. Notably, transitions between genotypes occurred during the course of the season, and towards the end of the bloom there was a transition to genotypes that were not producers of the toxin microcystin. An understanding of these changes is important in acquiring the appropriate techniques for monitoring changes in blooms as land use practices and climate change, both of which can affect the rate of P entry into the system.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2010 Citation: BOZARTH, C.S., SCHWARTZ, A.D., SHEPARDSON, J.W., COLWELL, F.S. and DREHER, T.W. (2010) Population turnover in a Microcystis bloom results in predominantly nontoxigenic variants late in the season. Appl Environ Microbiol. 76:5207-13


Progress 01/01/09 to 12/31/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The Dreher laboratory connects to this project by genetically analyzing cyanobacterial (blue-green algal) blooms, which are typically caused by excess phosphorus loading in freshwater systems. As phosphorus pollution is decreased, cyanobacterial blooms are expected to recede and may serve as indicators of returned ecosystem health. Our knowledge about the genetics of toxic cyanobacterial blooms has been disseminated at a number of venues: * throughout 2009: participation on Klamath Watershed Blue-Green Algal Workgroup, comprised of about 30 scientists and government administrators charged with designing and implementation cyanobacterial monitoring; represented genetic approaches to this monitoring team. * April 2009, Cyanobacterial Bloom Workshop; co-organized a workshop for government lake managers (e.g., US Forest Service, US Army Corps of Engineers) who must monitor blooms and make decisions on posting advisories; 25 attendees. * September 2009, invited speaker, Oregon Lakes Association, Lincoln City, OR; about 50 attendees, mostly lake managers, researchers and lake management professionals. * November 2009, 5th Symposium on Harmful Algae in the US, Ocean Shores, WA; about 300 attendees, scientists and administrators connected with toxic bloom research and management. PARTICIPANTS: A Research Associate, Dr. Connie Bozarth, has conducted most of the experimental work. A graduate student, Andrew Schwartz, has conducted the bioinformatic work. This has been important in his development towards being able to conduct independent research. A colleague, Dr. Rick Colwell, has served as participant on this project. A number of undergraduate students, particularly Jonathan Shepardson, have participated in defined aspect of the research, and thereby gained increasing confidence and knowledge. As a result, Mr. Shepardson is planning to conduct research throughout the entire summer of 2010. The Karuk Tribe of Northern California was instrumental in providing water samples used for our studies. PacifiCorp Company also generously provided samples. TARGET AUDIENCES: Scientists and lake managers have been reached as target audiences through the conference presentations listed above. By participation in the Klamath Blue-Green Algal Workgroup and by hosting a Cyanobacterial Bloom Workshop, we have connected with those people conducting monitoring and making decisions about routine monitoring. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
Studies have focussed on the Klamath watershed and description of Microcystis blooms in the Copco Reservoir and Upper Klamath Lake. The 2007 highly toxic Microcystis bloom has been studied in considerable detail by determining the range of DNA sequences present at three gene loci: ITS, cpcBA and mcyA. Such multilocus analysis has not been performed before and allowed description of subpopulation transitions among ITS and cpcBA alleles, as well as transition to non-toxigenic forms of Mcirocystis. At the ITS and cpcBA alleles, the population structure was relatively simple, offering the possibility for strain-specific monitoring that would allow high resolution analysis of population changes over time, between seasons, or as a phosphorus mitigation strategy is implemented.

Publications

  • BOZARTH, C.S., SCHWARTZ, A.D., SHEPARDSON, J., COLWELL, F. and DREHER, T.W. (2010) Population turnover in a Microcystis bloom results in predominantly non-toxigenic variants late in the season. Submitted for publication.