[Seasonal dynamics of genus Alexandrium (potentially toxic dinoflagellate) in the lagoon of Bizerte (North of Tunisia) and controls by the abiotic factors]

Donia Bouchouicha Smida, Inès Sahraoui, Hassine Hadj Mabrouk, Asma Sakka Hlaili
Comptes Rendus Biologies 2012, 335 (6): 406-16
Some species of the genus Alexandrium are known as potential producers of saxitoxin, a neurotoxin that causes the paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) syndrome. Blooming of these species, especially in shellfish farms can affect the aquaculture production and harm human health. Seasonal dynamics of Alexandrium spp. abundance in relationship to environmental factors was investigated from November 2007 to February 2009 at six stations in the Bizerte lagoon, an important shellfish farming area situated in SW Mediterranean. The sampling stations represented different hydrological and trophic conditions: one station TJ (Tinja) is affected by the river plume; two stations (Chaara [Ch] and Canal [Ca]) are influenced by marine inflow (particularly in summer), industrial and urban effluents; and the three other stations (Menzel Abdelrahmen [MA], Menzel Jemil [MJ] and Douaouda [Do]) are located close to shellfish farms. Cell abundance of Alexandrium spp. varied among stations and months. Species of this genus showed a sporadic appearance, but they reached high concentration (0.67-7 × 10(5)cells L(-1)). Maximal cell density was detected in autumn (November 2007; station MA), at salinity of 37.5, temperature of 16 °C and NH(4)(+) level of 55.45 μM. During this month, Alexandrium spp. abundance accounted for a large fraction (61%) of the harmful phytoplankton. The statistical analysis revealed that Alexandrium concentrations were positively correlated with N:P ratio and NH4+ levels. Thus, the eutrophic waters of the lagoon favour the growth of Alexandrium, which seemed to have preference for N-nutrient loading from antrophogenic activities, as ammonium. Blooms of these potential harmful algae may constitute a potential threat in this coastal lagoon of the southern Mediterranean. Consequently, it is necessary to be well vigilant and to do regular monitoring of Alexandrium species.

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