Rapid growth and concerted sexual transitions by a bloom of the harmful dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense (Dinophyceae)
Brosnahan, Michael L.
Ralston, David K.
Fox, Sophia E.
Sehein, Taylor R.
Sosik, Heidi M.
Olson, Robert J.
Anderson, Donald M.
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Transitions between life cycle stages by the harmful dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense are critical for the initiation and termination of its blooms. To quantify these transitions in a single population, an Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB), was deployed in Salt Pond (Eastham, Massachusetts), a small, tidally flushed kettle pond that hosts near annual, localized A. fundyense blooms. Machine-based image classifiers differentiating A. fundyense life cycle stages were developed and results were compared to manually corrected IFCB samples, manual microscopy-based estimates of A. fundyense abundance, previously published data describing prevalence of the parasite Amoebophrya, and a continuous culture of A. fundyense infected with Amoebophrya. In Salt Pond, a development phase of sustained vegetative division lasted approximately 3 weeks and was followed by a rapid and near complete conversion to small, gamete cells. The gametic period (∼3 d) coincided with a spike in the frequency of fusing gametes (up to 5% of A. fundyense images) and was followed by a zygotic phase (∼4 d) during which cell sizes returned to their normal range but cell division and diel vertical migration ceased. Cell division during bloom development was strongly phased, enabling estimation of daily rates of division, which were more than twice those predicted from batch cultures grown at similar temperatures in replete medium. Data from the Salt Pond deployment provide the first continuous record of an A. fundyense population through its complete bloom cycle and demonstrate growth and sexual induction rates much higher than are typically observed in culture.
© The Author(s), 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Limnology and Oceanography 60 (2015): 2059–2078, doi:10.1002/lno.10155.
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