MEPS 353:89-105 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07179

Growth, behaviour and cell toxin quota of Dinophysis acuta during a daily cycle

G. Pizarro1,3,*, L. Escalera1, S. González-Gil1, J. M. Franco2, B. Reguera1

1Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Aptdo. 1552, 36280 Vigo, Spain
2Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Eduardo Cabello 6, 36080 Vigo, Spain
3Present address: Instituto de Fomento Pesquero-CEQUA, Enrique Abello 0552, Casilla 101, Punta Arenas, Chile
*-Address for correspondence: Vigo. Email:

ABSTRACT: In 2005, a bloom of the Diarrhoetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) causative agent Dinophysis acuta Ehrenberg in the Galician Rías Baixas (NW Spain) started in early August and reached maximum densities (up to 2 × 104 cell l–1) in mid November. A cell cycle study was carried out over a 22 h period on 9 and 10 November to describe the physiological status and the short-term variability in cell toxin quota of D. acuta at the time of the annual maximum of lipophilic toxins in shellfish. At that time, the population of D. acuta showed an extremely low division rate (μ = 0.03 d–1), a high frequency of dead cells (up to 15%) and cells with starch granules (up to 93%), and no evidence of recent mixotrophic behaviour. Still, the cells, which did not perform vertical migration, aggregated around salinity-driven density discontinuities in the top 5 m and had a high cell toxin quota (determined by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry) for this species. A 3.5-fold difference was found between maximum (during the night) and minimum values of cell toxin quota. Okadaic acid (OA) was the predominant toxin and changes in cell quota of different toxins showed different daily patterns in the content of okadaiates and pectenotoxins; thus, the toxin profile is influenced by the time of sampling. Dissolved toxins (adsorbed by resins in passive samplers from 8 to 14 November) also reached annual maxima and reflected the vertical distribution of D. acuta cells. These results emphasize the need to parameterize physiological conditions and behaviour of Dinophysis populations during different phases of the population growth and hydrodynamic scenarios.


KEY WORDS: Dinophysis spp. · Cell cycle · Cell toxin quota · DSP toxins · Okadaic acid · Diol-esters · Pectenotoxins


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Cite this article as: Pizarro G, Escalera L, González-Gil S, Franco JM, Reguera B (2008) Growth, behaviour and cell toxin quota of Dinophysis acuta during a daily cycle. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 353:89-105. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07179

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