Cyanobacteria and their principal cyanotoxins were studied in the largest Italian lake (Lake Garda, 65 m a.s.l.) and in a near smaller reservoir (Lake Ledro, 652 m a.s.l.). The two lakes share a fraction of water due to a pipe pumping water from and into the lakes and the same dominant cyanobacterial species (Planktothrix rubescens). Despite the differences in the concentrations of cyanotoxins (mostly microcystins, MCs) and biovolumes of P. rubescens (BVPr) (over one order of magnitude), the Bayesian analyses linking these two variables showed striking similarities, suggesting the existence of similar toxic genotypes colonizing the two water bodies and a constitutive MC production. It was stressed that a greater sensitivity and reliability in the management strategies aimed at minimizing the risks due to cyanobacteria should also contemplate the use of specific lake-tailored models linking MCs and BVPr.
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