Physiology and molecular biology of aquatic cyanobacteria
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Cyanobacteria thrive in every illuminated aquatic environment known, contributing at least 25% of primary productivity worldwide. Given their importance in carbon and nutrient cycles, cyanobacteria are essential geochemical agents that have shaped the composition of the Earth's crust, oceans and atmosphere for billions of years. The high diversity of cyanobacteria is reflected in the panoply of unique physiological adaptations across the phylum, including different strategies to optimize light harvesting or sustain nitrogen fixation, but also different lifestyles like psychrotrophy, and oligotrophy. Some cyanobacteria produce secondary metabolites of cryptic function, many of which are toxic to eukaryotes. Consequently, bloom-forming toxic cyanobacteria are global hazards that are of increasing concern in surface waters affected by anthropogenic nutrient loads and climate change.
© The Author(s), 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Frontiers in Microbiology 5 (2014): 359, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00359.
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