Phylogenetic and Chemical Diversity of Three Chemotypes of Bloom-Forming Lyngbya Species (Cyanobacteria: Oscillatoriales) from Reefs of Southeastern Florida

Document Type



Published in: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.75, issue 9, 2009.


The cyanobacterial genus Lyngbya includes free-living, benthic, filamentous cyanobacteria that form periodic nuisance blooms in lagoons, reefs, and estuaries. Lyngbya spp. are prolific producers of biologically active compounds that deter grazers and help blooms persist in the marine environment. Here, our investigations reveal the presence of three distinct Lyngbya species on nearshore reefs in Broward County, FL, sampled in 2006 and 2007. With a combination of morphological measurements, molecular biology techniques, and natural products chemistry, we associated these three Lyngbya species with three distinct Lyngbya chemotypes. One species, identified as Lyngbya cf. confervoides via morphological measurements and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, produces a diverse array of bioactive peptides and depsipeptides. Our results indicate that the other two Lyngbya species produce either microcolins A and B or curacin D and dragonamides C and D. Results from screening for the biosynthetic capacity for curacin production among the three Lyngbya chemotypes in this study correlated that capacity with the presence of curacin D. Our work on these bloom-forming Lyngbya species emphasizes the significant phylogenetic and chemical diversity of the marine cyanobacteria on southern Florida reefs and identifies some of the genetic components of those differences.