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Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in Latin America

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Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00487

Population dynamics of benthic-epiphytic dinoflagellates on two macroalgae from coral reef systems of the northern Mexican Caribbean

  • 1Unidad de Ciencias del Agua, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, Mexico
  • 2Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education (CICESE), Mexico
  • 3Centro de Investigación Biológica del Noreste (CIBNOR), Mexico
  • 4Universidad de Colima, Mexico

In the present study the abundance of epiphytic dinoflagellates was researched at two coral reef sites of the natural protected areas, Arrecife de Puerto Morelos and Isla Contoy, located in the northern Mesoamerican Reef System of the Mexican Caribbean. Abundances were monitored from April to December, 2015 on two genera of macroalga belonging to different functional groups: Dictyota and Amphiroa. In general, the total abundance of dinoflagellates was higher in Puerto Morelos on both macroalgae. Ostreopsis cf. marinus and O. heptagona were the dominant species. Relative abundance of these species varied from 8% to 99% of total epiphytic dinoflagellates. Maximum abundances at Puerto Morelos were registered in April, with 33,801 cells•g-1 on Dictyota and 6,264 cells•g-1 on Amphiroa. In Isla Contoy the maximum abundance was 16,006 cells•g-1 and it was detected on Dictyota during December. Other dinoflagellate genera were more abundant during the warmer period (May to September) in both locations. Prorocentrum was the second most abundant genus and was represented by six species (P. hoffmannianum, P. lima, P. belizeanum, P. elegans, P. emarginatum and P. rathymum). The maximum pooled abundance of Prorocentrum species was 4,144 cells•g-1 on Dictyota in August. Coolia spp did not reach abundances higher than 1000 cells•g-1 and Gambierdiscus spp only exceeded 100 cells•g-1 during August. Mean water temperature in Isla Contoy was significantly lower than that of Puerto Morelos during the entire study period. There was a negative correlation between the water temperature and the abundance of O. cf. marinus. The dominance of Ostreopsis in the Caribbean is significant because of its capability to produce palytoxin analogues and its potential role in ciguatera fish poisoning outbreaks in the region. This is the first study that reports blooms of Ostreopsis in Mexican Caribbean coral reefs, a fact that emphasizes the significance of this genus at global scale.

Keywords: Dictyota, Ostreopsis, ciguatera, Caribbean Sea, coral reef

Received: 03 Sep 2018; Accepted: 30 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Jorge I. Mardones, Centro de Estudios de Algas Nocivas (CREAN), Instituto de Fomento Pesquero (IFOP), Chile

Reviewed by:

Conrad Sparks, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Sai Elangovan S, National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR), India  

Copyright: © 2018 Irola-Sansores, Delgado-Pech, Garcia-Mendoza, Núñez-Vázquez, Olivos-Ortiz and Almazán-Becerril. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Antonio Almazán-Becerril, Unidad de Ciencias del Agua, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, Cancún, Mexico, almazan@cicy.mx