Scientia Marina, Vol 78, No 3 (2014)

Cryptophyte bloom in a Mediterranean estuary: High abundance of Plagioselmis cf. prolonga in the Krka River estuary (eastern Adriatic Sea)

Luka Šupraha
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb - Department of Earth Sciences, Paleobiology Programme, Uppsala University , Croatia

Sunčica Bosak
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb , Croatia

Zrinka Ljubešić
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb , Croatia

Hrvoje Mihanović
Hydrographic Institute of the Republic of Croatia , Croatia

Goran Olujić
Hydrographic Institute of the Republic of Croatia , Croatia

Iva Mikac
Ruđer Bošković Institute , Croatia

Damir Viličić
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb , Croatia


During the June 2010 survey of phytoplankton and physicochemical parameters in the Krka River estuary (eastern Adriatic Sea), a cryptophyte bloom was observed. High abundance of cryptophytes (maximum 7.9×106 cells l–1) and high concentrations of the class-specific biomarker pigment alloxanthine (maximum 2312 ng l–1) were detected in the surface layer and at the halocline in the lower reach of the estuary. Taxonomical analysis revealed that the blooming species was Plagioselmis cf. prolonga. Analysis of the environmental parameters in the estuary suggested that the bloom was supported by the slower river flow as well as the increased orthophosphate and ammonium concentrations. The first record of a cryptophyte bloom in the Krka River estuary may indicate that large-scale changes are taking place in the phytoplankton community. Such changes could have a major impact on the natural ecosystem dynamics and the mariculture production in the area.


estuarine ecosystem; phytoplankton bloom; cryptophytes; chemotaxonomy; Mediterranean Sea; Krka River estuary

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