A review of the global distribution of Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae) and comments on ecology and associated paralytic shellfish toxin profiles, with a focus on Northern Europe

Adam Michael Lewis, Lewis Nicholas Coates, Andrew D. Turner, Linda Percy, Jane Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alexandrium minutum is a globally distributed harmful algal bloom species with many strains that are known to produce paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) and consequently represent a concern to human and ecosystem health. This review highlights that A. minutum typically occurs in sheltered locations, with cell growth occurring during periods of stable water conditions. Sediment characteristics are important in the persistence of this species within a location, with fine sediments providing cyst deposits for ongoing inoculation to the water column. Toxic strains of A. minutum do not produce a consistent toxin profile, different populations produce a range of PSTs in differing quantities. Novel cluster analysis of published A. minutum toxin profiles indicates five PST profile clusters globally. Some clusters are grouped geographically (Northern Europe) while others are widely spread. Isolates from Taiwan have a range of toxin profile clusters and this area appears to have the most diverse set of PST producing A. minutum populations. These toxin profiles indicate that within the United Kingdom there are two populations of A. minutum grouping with strains from Northern France and Southern Ireland. There is a degree of interconnectivity in this region due to oceanic circulation and a high level of shipping and recreational boating. Further research into the interrelationships between the A. minutum populations in this global region would be of value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-598
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Phycology
Volume54
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Alexandrium minutum
  • ecology
  • geographic distribution
  • paralytic shellfish toxins
  • toxin profiling

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