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Identification and characterisation of the dominant Pseudo-nitzschia species (Bacillariophyceae) along the NE Spanish coast (Catalonia, NW Mediterranean)
Sonia Quijano-Scheggia, Esther Garcés, Nagore Sampedro, Kees van Lenning, Eva Flo, Karl Andree, José-Manuel Fortuño and Jordi Camp

Potentially toxic species of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia were studied along the Spanish NW Mediterranean coast from January 2005 to May 2006. Observation in electron microscopy revealed the presence of Pseudo-nitzschia brasiliana, P. calliantha, P. delicatissima, P. fraudulenta, P. multistriata and P. pungens. Several strains were isolated from coastal waters and their clonal cultures were compared by combined techniques, including light and electron microscopy and internal transcribed spacer (ITS-1, 5.8S and ITS-2) rDNA sequencing. Cultured isolates were submitted to HPLC analysis of pigments to evaluate the possibility of taxonomic discriminations by means of a simple chemotaxonomic approach. The genus Pseudo-nitzschia showed high cell concentrations during most of the year, but the population initiated a sharp decline at all stations in the period between April and May. P. delicatissima with P. calliantha were found at the northern stations between February and April, and at the southern stations between August and November. P. brasiliana and P. multistriata were only occasionally detected in the southern region. None of the environmental variables considered was significant to explain the observed spatial and temporal distributions of Pseudo-nitzschia species in the area studied. Differences in the growth rate and cell yield of the species indicate that biotic factors may play a role in the observed distributional patterns.

Keywords: diatoms, Pseudo-nitzschia, harmful algal blooms, autoecology, ITS morphology, pigments
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 72(2) : 343-359 Back PDF
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