Population genomics of the cyanobacteria Microcystis botrys
Aquatic environments are of enormous importance as natural resources of drinking water, fish production, and recreation. However, surface waters worldwide are threatened by toxic cyanobacterial algal blooms, which have detrimental effects on human health and aquatic biota. One of the most important toxic cyanobacteria in Swedish freshwater is the genus Microcystis. We know which species may be harmful, but cannot predict where and when blooms will be toxic due to inter-population and strain variation.
In this project we will be using a population genomic approach to address this issue with the aim to understand temporal and spatial prevalence, and the underlying function of toxicity. Our overarching hypothesis is that toxic and non-toxic populations have emerged as a result of ecological differentiation.