Pseudo-nitzschia physiological ecology, phylogeny, toxicity, monitoring and impacts on ecosystem health
Trainer, Vera L.
Bates, Stephen S.
Thessen, Anne E.
Cochlan, William P.
Adams, Nicolaus G.
Trick, Charles G.
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KeywordAlgal phylogeny; Algal taxonomy; Amnesic shellfish poisoning; Diatom sexual reproduction; Domoic acid; Harmful algal bloom; Pseudo-nitzschia
Over the last decade, our understanding of the environmental controls on Pseudo-nitzschia blooms and domoic acid (DA) production has matured. Pseudo-nitzschia have been found along most of the world's coastlines, while the impacts of its toxin, DA, are most persistent and detrimental in upwelling systems. However, Pseudo-nitzschia and DA have recently been detected in the open ocean's high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll regions, in addition to fjords, gulfs and bays, showing their presence in diverse environments. The toxin has been measured in zooplankton, shellfish, crustaceans, echinoderms, worms, marine mammals and birds, as well as in sediments, demonstrating its stable transfer through the marine food web and abiotically to the benthos. The linkage of DA production to nitrogenous nutrient physiology, trace metal acquisition, and even salinity, suggests that the control of toxin production is complex and likely influenced by a suite of environmental factors that may be unique to a particular region. Advances in our knowledge of Pseudo-nitzschia sexual reproduction, also in field populations, illustrate its importance in bloom dynamics and toxicity. The combination of careful taxonomy and powerful new molecular methods now allow for the complete characterization of Pseudo-nitzschia populations and how they respond to environmental changes. Here we summarize research that represents our increased knowledge over the last decade of Pseudo-nitzschia and its production of DA, including changes in worldwide range, phylogeny, physiology, ecology, monitoring and public health impacts.
This paper is not subject to U.S. copyright. The definitive version was published in Harmful Algae 14 (2012): 271-300, doi:10.1016/j.hal.2011.10.025.
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