University Of Tasmania

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Vegetative reproduction and sexual life cycle of the toxic dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum from Tasmania, Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 22:09 authored by Blackburn, SI, Gustaaf HallegraeffGustaaf Hallegraeff, Christopher BolchChristopher Bolch

The toxic, chain-forming dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum Graham was cultured from vegetative cells and benthic resting cysts isolated from estuarine waters in Tasmania, Australia. Rapidly dividing, log phase cultures formed long chains of up to 64 cells whereas stationary phase cultures were composed primarily of single cells (23-41 pm long, 27-36 pm wide). Vegetative growth (mean doubling time 3-4 days) was optimal at temperatures from 14.5-20° C, salinities of 23-34% and light irradiances of 50-300 μE·m−2·s−1.

The sexual life cycle of G. catenatum was easily induced in a nutrient-deficient medium, provided compatible opposite mating types were combined (heterothallism). Gamete fusion produced a large (59-73 μm long, 50-59 μm wide) biconical, posteriorly biflagellate planozygote (double longitudinal flagellum) which after several days lost one longitudinal flagellum and gradually became subspherical in shape. This older planozygote stage persisted for up to two weeks before encysting into a round, brown resting cyst (42-52 μm diam; hypnozygote) with microreticulate surface ornamentation. Resting cysts germinated after a dormancy period as short as two weeks under our culture conditions, resulting in a single, posteriorly biflagellate germling cell (planomeiocyte). This divided to form a chain of two cells, which subsequently re-established a vegetative population. Implications for the bloom dynamics of this toxic dinoflagellate, a causative organism of paralytic shellfish poisoning, are discussed.


Publication title

Journal of Phycology








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Blackwell Publishing Inc

Place of publication

350 Main St, Malden, USA, Ma, 02148

Rights statement

Copyright © 1989 Wiley

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified

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