Harmful and parasitic unicellular eukaryotes persist in a shallow lake under reconstruction (L. Karla, Greece)
The reconstructed Lake Karla, Greece, has been undergoing its water-filling period since November 2009. In this paper, we aimed at investigating whether the unicellular eukaryotes, including the toxic/parasitic ones, that have been found during mass fish kills in the lake (March-April 2010), persist during the first warm period of the lake (May, August, November 2010). Given that microscopic characterization of some of these eukaryotes is not adequate for their identification, we analysed the 18S rRNA gene diversity of plankton samples. All the found phylotypes belonged to the phyla of Mesomycetazoa, Chlorophyta, Fungi, Alveolata, Cercozoa, Cryptophyta and Stramenopiles. Some members of these groups seem to persist in Lake Karla as they have been found in early spring as well. These microscopic eukaryotes are either ichthyotoxic/parasitic (e.g. Pfiesteria sp./Pseudopfiesteria shumwayae, some Fungi, Mesomycetazoa, Lagenidium sp., Cercozoa) or indicative of hyper-eutrophic conditions (e.g. Oocystis sp., Scenedesmus spp.) and were rather abundant during the first spring-autumn period of the lake's refilling process. These complex microscopic communities are expected to shape highly dynamic and variable food webs with the risk of repeated fish kills.