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Global toxicology, ecophysiology and population relationships of the chainforming PST dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 09:00 authored by Gustaaf HallegraeffGustaaf Hallegraeff, Blackburn, SI, Doblin, MA, Christopher BolchChristopher Bolch
Increasing scientific awareness since the 1980s of the chain-forming dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum has led to this species being reported with increased frequency in a globally increasing number of countries (23 at present). G. catenatum exhibits little molecular genetic variation in rDNA over its global range, in contrast to RAPD fingerprinting which points to high genetic variation within regional populations even between estuaries 50 km apart. All Australian and New Zealand strains possess a thymine nucleotide (T-gene) near the start of the 5.8S rRNA whereas all other global populations examined to date possess cytosine-nucleotide (C-gene), except for southern Japan which harbours both C-gene and T-gene strains. Together with cyst and plankton evidence this strongly suggests that both Australian and New Zealand populations have derived from southern Japan. Global dinoflagellate populations and cultures exhibit an extraordinary variation in PST profiles (STX and 21 analogues), but consistent regional patterns are evident with regard to the production of C1,2; C3,4; B1,2; and neoSTX analogues. PST profiles of cyst-derived cultures are deemed unrepresentative. Distinct ecophysiological differences exist between tropical (21–32 °C) and warm-temperate ecotypes (12–18 °C), but these appear unrelated to ITS genotypes and PST toxin phenotypes. On current evidence, cyst germination appears to play a minimal role in the bloom dynamics of this species, while seasonal and inter-annual bloom variations result from the physical constraints (temperature and light) on the growth of the dinoflagellates in the water column. G. catenatum exhibits a capacity to utilize many forms of nitrogen. Its chain formation and strong motility allow it to undergo retrieval migrations to exploit light and nutrient resource gradients in both stratified and mixed environments. Subtle strain-level variations in micronutrient (Se, humics) requirements and interaction with associated bacterial flora may provide a partial explanation for the contrasting inshore Tasmanian, and offshore (Spain, Mexico) bloom patterns by the same species in different geographic regions.


Publication title

Harmful Algae








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elesevier Science BV

Place of publication

Amsterdam Netherlands

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Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified

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