African Journal of Aquatic Science

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Population dynamics of potentially harmful algal blooms in Bizerte Lagoon, Tunisia

D Bouchouicha Smida, I Sahraoui, B Grami, H Hadj Mabrouk, A Sakka Hlaili


The population dynamics of potentially harmful phytoplankton in the semi-closed, coastal Bizerte Lagoon, Tunisia, in the south-western Mediterranean, were examined from November 2007 to February 2009 at six sampling stations, three situated in areas of mussel and oyster farming. The harmful species monitored included the potential producers of amnesic shellfish poisoning (Pseudo-nitzschia spp.), paralytic shellfish poisoning (Alexandrium spp.), diarrheic shellfish poisoning (Dinophysis spp. and Prorocentrum spp.), ichthyotoxins (Cochlodinium polykrikoides, Akashiwo sanguinea and Karenia mikimotoi), yessotoxins (Gonyaulax spinifera) and the discolouration of water (Neoceratium and Protoperidinium sp.). These were numerically dominated by potentially toxic species of the diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia, which were present year-round at all stations. Prorocentrum spp., Dinophysis spp. and Neoceratium lineatum were the most abundant and recurrent harmful dinoflagellates, exhibiting their highest densities at the shellfish farming stations. Alexandrium spp. bloomed only on one occasion, reaching its highest densities at a shellfish farming station. Canonical correspondence analyses revealed significant relationships between the harmful phytoplankton species monitored and the environmental conditions. The widespread distribution of harmful phytoplankton in Bizerte Lagoon, with the permanent presence of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. and the high frequency of dinoflagellate blooms in the shellfish areas, suggests a potential risk of shellfish poisoning events in the region.

Keywords: canonical correspondence analysis, environmental conditions, monitoring, phytoplankton, potentially toxic species

African Journal of Aquatic Science 2014, 39(2): 177–188
AJOL African Journals Online