AME 34:219-226 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/ame034219

Dynamics of Heterocapsa circularisquama (Dinophyceae) and its viruses in Ago Bay, Japan

Keizo Nagasaki1,*, Yuji Tomaru1, Katsuyuki Nakanishi2, Naotsugu Hata2, Noriaki Katanozaka3,4, Mineo Yamaguchi1

1National Research Institute of Fisheries and Environment of Inland Sea, 2-17-5 Maruishi, Ohno, Saeki, Hiroshima 739-0452, Japan
2Mie Prefectural Science and Technology Promotion Center, 3564-3 Hamajima, Hamajima, Shima, Mie 517-0404, Japan
3SDS Biotech K.K., 2-1 Midorigahara, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 300-2646, Japan
4Present address: Hitec Co. Ltd., 1-8-30 Tenmabashi, Kita, Osaka 530-6025, Japan

ABSTRACT: To examine the relationship between the bloom-forming dinoflagellate Heterocapsa circularisquama and its infectious viruses, a field survey was conducted in Ago Bay, Japan, in 2001. A H. circularisquama bloom occurred in July. The bloom peaked in mid July and disintegrated within a few days at the end of July. The abundance of viruses infectious to H. circularisquama was high from the peak of the bloom and throughout the post-bloom period, but ceased by the end of August. At the peak of the bloom, 88% of the H. circularisquama cells in the population harbored small virus-like particles (VLPs). Based on transmission electron microscopic (TEM) observation, morphological resemblance between these VLPs and the single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) virus infecting H. circularisquama (HcRNAV: H. circularisquama RNA virus) isolated from the bloom was noticeable. The fluctuation patterns of the viruses indicated that at least 2 distinct types of virus with different host specificity spectra coexisted. A specific increase in viral abundance in the sediments was observed in the middle of the bloom, and these viruses were likely able to maintain their infectivity for at least 3 mo. The present study provides further evidence of the possible viral impacts on the biomass and clonal composition of algal populations in the natural environment, and offers support for the hypothesis that sediments are a reservoir of algal viruses.

KEY WORDS: Algal virus · ssRNA virus · Heterocapsa circularisquama · Population dynamics · Red tides · Harmful algal blooms

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