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Oligotrophication and emergence of picocyanobacteria and a toxic dinoflagellate in Thau lagoon, southern France
Collos, Y.; Bec, B.; Jauzein, C.; Abadie, E.; Laugier, T.; Lautier, J.; Pastoureaud, A.; Souchu, P.; Vaquer, A. (2009). Oligotrophication and emergence of picocyanobacteria and a toxic dinoflagellate in Thau lagoon, southern France. J. Sea Res. 61(1-2): 68-75.
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101; e-ISSN 1873-1414, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors | Dataset 

    Alexandrium catenella (Whedon & Kofoid) Balech, 1985 [WoRMS]
    MED, France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Thau Lagoon [Marine Regions]
Author keywords
    Long term variability; Oligotrophication; Picocyanobacteria;

Authors  Top | Dataset 
  • Collos, Y.
  • Bec, B.
  • Jauzein, C.
  • Abadie, E.
  • Laugier, T.
  • Lautier, J.
  • Pastoureaud, A.
  • Souchu, P.
  • Vaquer, A.

    Time series data have been examined in Thau lagoon (Southern France) from 1972 to 2006 for water temperature, salinity, nutrients and from 1987 to 2006 for phytoplankton. A first main trend identified is an increase in mean annual water temperature (1.5 °C over 33 years or 0.045 °C/year) that was not evenly distributed among seasons. The highest rate of increase was in the spring (+ 3.0 °C over 33 years), followed by summer (+ 2.0 °C) and fall (+ 1.7 °C). In winter, no significant increase over the 33 year period could be found. A second clear trend is a large decrease in soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) concentration over the same 33 year period (summer values decreased from 10 µM to 1 µM, while winter values decreased from 3 µM to undetectable at present). Nitrate concentrations depended mainly on rainfall events and watershed runoff. Ammonium data were too fragmentary to be useful. N/P ratios expressed the traditional way of DIN/SRP cannot be used for phytoplankton that are not strict autotrophs. The recent and almost simultaneous appearance of both picocyanobacteria (mostly Synechococcus) and the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella in Thau seem to be related to reduced nutrient loading and the increase in water temperature. A. catenella blooms occur either in the spring or the fall when water temperature is near 20 °C and remains so for several weeks with winds speeds below 2–3 m s− 1. Picocyanobacterial growth is stimulated by increased summer temperatures, and lowered SRP levels provide picocyanobacteria an ecological advantage over other phytoplankton classes, in particular diatoms such as Skeletonema costatum whose cell densities have decreased over the last 8 years in summer and fall, but not in winter. An hypothesis is presented according to which A. catenella is not stimulated by increased temperatures, but is able to use picocyanobacteria for growth, and this provides this organism an additional resource over other strictly autotrophic phytoplankton. On a more general level, our data do not support the hypothesis that increased nutrient loading leads to harmful blooms of dinoflagellates. Instead, a combination of habitat disturbance and species displacement seems to lead to such blooms.

  • REPHY: Network Monitoring phytoplankton, more

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