MEPS 259:93-102 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/meps259093

Diarrhetic shellfish toxicity in relation to the abundance of Dinophysis spp. in the German Bight near Helgoland

Sascha Klöpper1,2,*, Renate Scharek1,3, Gunnar Gerdts1

1Biologische Anstalt Helgoland (BAH, AWI), Kurpromenade, 27498 Helgoland, Germany
2Present address: Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Fahrenheitstrasse 6, 28359 Bremen, Germany
3Present address: Institut de Ciencies del Mar (ICM, CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

ABSTRACT: Diarrhetic shellfish toxicity is caused by the accumulation of okadaic acid and its derivatives, which are produced by particular species of Dinophysis Ehrenberg 1839 and Prorocentrum Ehrenberg 1833 (dinoflagellata). In the German Bight (North Sea) around the island of Helgoland, 4 toxic Dinophysis species occur, of which 2 exhibited successive biomass maximum in summer 2000 (D. norvegica Claparède et Lachmann 1859 with cell concentrations of max. 400 cell l-1 and D. acuminata Claparède et Lachmann 1859 with max. cell concentrations of over 4000 cells l-1). In contrast to findings in other marine areas, toxicity of Mytilus edulis Linné 1758 could be clearly attributed to the observed increases in cell abundances of both species. In several Mytilus samples toxin concentrations (max. 460 ng diarrhetic shellfish poisoning [DSP] toxins g-1 hepatopancreas) were in a range which is considered dangerous for human consumption. While mussel toxicity coincided with concentration increases both Dinophysis species, toxicity of the particulate substance in the water (max. 26 ng l-1) could be detected only during cell concentration maxima of D. acuminata. The mussel toxicity which lasted until 3 wk after the end of the D. acuminata bloom is attributed to extended toxicity of decaying Dinophysis cells and detritus. Elevated summer temperatures and low silicate concentrations evidently supported the development of high concentrations of D. acuminata.


KEY WORDS: Toxic dinoflagellates · Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning · DSP · Harmful algal blooms · HAB · Phytoplankton


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