The eutrophication of lakes is typically associated with high biomass proliferations of potentially toxic cyanobacteria. At a regional level, the sustainable management of water resources necessitates an approach that recognises the interconnectivity of multiple water systems within river catchments. This study examined the dynamics in summer diversity of planktonic cyanobacterial communities and microcystin toxin concentrations in two inter-connected lakes from the west of Ireland prone to nutrient enrichment. DGGE analysis of 16S rRNA gene amplicons of genotype-I cyanobacteria (typically spherical) showed changes in the communities of both Lough Corrib and Ballyquirke Lough throughout the summer, and identified cyanobacterial genotypes both unique and shared to both lakes. Microcystin concentrations, estimated via the protein phosphatase 2A inhibition assay, were greater in August than in July and June in both lakes. This was concomitant to the increased occurrence of Microcystis as evidenced by DGGE band excision and subsequent sequencing and BLAST analysis. RFLP analysis of PCR amplified mcy-A/E genes clustered together the August samples of both lakes, highlighting a potential change in microcystin producers across the two lakes. Finally, the multiple factor analysis of the combined environmental data set for the two lakes highlighted the expected pattern opposing greater water temperature and chlorophyll concentration against macronutrient concentrations, but also indicated a negative relationship between microcystin concentration and cyanobacterial diversity, possibly underlining allelopathic interactions. Despite some element of connectivity, the dissimilarity in the composition of the cyanobacterial assemblages and the timing of community change in the two lakes likely were a reflexion of niche differences determined by meteorologically-forced variation in physico-chemical parameters in the two water bodies. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.