Scientia Marina, Vol 72, No 3 (2008)

Bloom dynamics of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia (Bacillariophyceae) in two coastal bays (NW Mediterranean Sea)

Sonia Quijano-Scheggia
Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar-CMIMA, CSIC, Spain

Esther Garcés
Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar-CMIMA, CSIC, Spain

Eva Flo
Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar-CMIMA, CSIC, Spain

Margarita Fernandez-Tejedor
IRTA, Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentaries-Centre d’Aqüicultura, Spain

Jorge Diogène
IRTA, Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentaries-Centre d’Aqüicultura, Spain

Jordi Camp
Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar-CMIMA, CSIC, Spain


The spatial and temporal variations in the composition of Pseudo-nitzschia during bloom events from August 2005 to February 2006 were characterised in two bays of the NW Mediterranean Sea (Alfacs and Fangar Bay) by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The study provides detailed records of the Pseudo-nitzschia community at the species level and describes its relationship with both the surrounding environmental conditions and biotic factors such as the accompanying phytoplankton community. The size distributions of several species of Pseudo-nitzschia were monitored during the bloom events. These measurements may serve as indicators of the physiological status of the cells. The species observed in the two bays were Pseudo-nitzschia calliantha, P. delicatissima, P. fraudulenta, P. multistriata, and P. pungens. In Alfacs Bay, a mixed species bloom of P. calliantha and P. delicatissima began in late August 2005 and lasted 11 weeks. In Fangar Bay, the Pseudo-nitzschia bloom was limited to the period from early August to late September 2005 and comprised P. calliantha and P. delicatissima. Commonly, the proliferation of Pseudo-nitzschia was mono-specific or was accompanied by other diatoms. Two objectively defined groups were identified by the statistical analysis in Alfacs bay; the first was made up only of winter samples and the second of summer and autumn samples. The first group was defined by a high concentration of NO3¯ and low concentrations of NH4+, conditions associated with a high abundance of P. delicatissima and a low abundance of P. calliantha. The second group expressed the opposite characteristics. A succession of different blooming species of Pseudo-nitzschia lasting months in Alfacs Bay is described.


Pseudo-nitzschia; bloom dynamics; phytoplankton community

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