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Detection of bioluminescent dinoflagellates based on luciferase genes during the blue tear season around the Matsu archipelago

Chi-Yu Shih, Sheng-Fang Tsai, Hao-Jinn Wang, Ssu-Ying Hwang, Lee-Kuo Kang*

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Noctiluca scintillans has been considered a bioluminescent bloom-forming species in the coastal water around the Matsu archipelago. To identify the bioluminescent dinoflagellates and their distributions around the Matsu archipelago, metatranscriptome and luciferase (lcf) gene sequencing were conducted from June 2016 to July 2017. Metatranscriptomes retrieved lcf genes mainly from Noctiluca and other bioluminescent dinoflagellates. This result demonstrated that lcf genes were actually expressed in multiple dinoflagellate species. An analysis of the lcf composition of dinoflagellates indicated that N. scintillans was the major constituent of bioluminescent species during May and July. In late summer, the dominance was replaced by other bioluminescent dinoflagellate species, such as Alexandrium affine and Ceratium fusus. No lcf gene from the known toxic bioluminescent dinoflagellates was obtained during the period of investigation. Our results also suggested that N. scintillans was not the only dinoflagellate species producing bioluminescence around the Matsu archipelago.