Evaluation of marine phytoplankton toxicity by application of marine invertebrate bioassays


  • Eva Aylagas AZTI-Tecnalia, Marine Research Division
  • Iratxe Menchaca AZTI-Tecnalia, Marine Research Division
  • Aitor Laza-Martínez Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)
  • Sergio Seoane Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)
  • Javier Franco AZTI-Tecnalia, Marine Research Division




Alexandrium minutum, Prymnesium parvum, Paracentrotus lividus, Artemia franciscana, Corophium multisetosum, toxicity bioassays


The dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum and the haptophyte Prymnesium parvum are well known for their toxin production and negative effects in marine coastal environments. A. minutum produces toxins which cause paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans and can affect copepods, shellfish and other marine organisms. Toxins of P. parvum are associated with massive fish mortalities resulting in negative impacts on the marine ecosystem and large economic losses in commercial aquaculture. The aim of this work is to improve our knowledge about the reliability of the use of marine invertebrate bioassays to detect microalgae toxicity, by performing: (i) a 24- to 48-h test with the brine shrimp Artemia franciscana; (ii) a 48-hour embryo-larval toxicity test with the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus; and (iii) a 72-h test with the amphipod Corophium multisetosum. The results indicate that A. franciscana and P. lividus larvae are sensitive to the toxicity of A. minutum and P. parvum. LC50 comparison analysis between the tested organisms reveals that A. franciscana is the most sensitive organism for A. minutum. These findings suggest that the use of different organizational biological level bioassays appears to be a suitable tool for A. minutum and P. parvum toxicity assessment.


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How to Cite

Aylagas E, Menchaca I, Laza-Martínez A, Seoane S, Franco J. Evaluation of marine phytoplankton toxicity by application of marine invertebrate bioassays. scimar [Internet]. 2014Jun.30 [cited 2022Aug.8];78(2):173-8. Available from: https://scientiamarina.revistas.csic.es/index.php/scientiamarina/article/view/1519




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