The germination characteristics of Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae), a toxic dinoflagellate from the Fal estuary (UK)

Eva Pérez Blanco, Jane Lewis, John Aldridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The germination characteristics of Alexandrium minutum cysts from the Fal estuary were studied at different conditions of temperature (4-24 °C) and salinity (15-35‰) and in the dark and low light intensity (2 μmol-2 s-1). Sediment sub-samples were directly cultured and processed at the end of the experiment for counts of non-germinated cysts. A decrease in the number of cysts was interpreted as germination that was calculated by comparison of the number of cysts over time with that of initial counts. The 50% germination time (time at which 50% of the total initial number of cysts had germinated) was calculated for each condition. A. minutum did not germinate in the dark but it germinated under all other conditions studied. Highest germination occurred at salinities of 30 psu and 35 psu and temperatures from 8 °C to 24 °C (germination rate-expressed as the inverse of the 50% germination time: 1.1-1.2). Lowest germination occurred at 15 psu and 4 °C and 24 °C (germination rate: 3.9-3.8). However, little variation in germination rates occurred across the conditions studied. As these conditions represent those likely in the estuary it is probable that A. minutum cysts on the surface of the sediments represent a constant source of cells to the water column and sediment disturbance (revealing buried cysts) could rapidly inoculate the water column with vegetative cells. This data was used to develop a model for Alexandrium germination from coastal sediments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-522
Number of pages5
JournalHarmful Algae
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • Alexandrium
  • Cysts
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Excystment
  • Germination


Dive into the research topics of 'The germination characteristics of Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae), a toxic dinoflagellate from the Fal estuary (UK)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this