The toxigenic marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense as the probable cause of mortality of caged salmon in Nova Scotia

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/S1568-9883(02)00048-3
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TypeArticle
Journal titleHarmful Algae
Volume1
Issue3
Pages313325; # of pages: 13
SubjectAlexandrium; fish kill; paralytic shellfish toxins; PSP
AbstractThe toxins associated with paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) are potent neurotoxins produced by natural populations of the marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense. In early June 2000, a massive bloom (>7×105 cells l−1) of this dinoflagellate coincided with an unusually high mortality of farmed salmon in sea cages in southeastern Nova Scotia. Conditions in the water column in the harbour were characterised by the establishment of a sharp pycnocline after salinity stratification due to abundant freshwater runoff. In situ fluorescence revealed a high sub-surface (2–4 m depth) chlorophyll peak related to the plankton bloom. The intense bloom was virtually monospecific and toxicity was clearly related to the concentration of Alexandrium cells in plankton size fractions. Cultured clonal isolates of A. tamarense from the aquaculture sites were very toxic on a per cell basis and yielded a diversity of PSP toxin profiles, some of which were similar to those from plankton concentrates from the natural bloom population. The toxin profile of plankton concentrates from the 21–56 μm size fraction was complex, dominated by the N-sulfocarbamoyl derivative C2, with levels of other PSP toxins GTX4, NEO, GTX5 (=B1), GTX3, GTX1, STX, C1, and GTX2, in decreasing order of relative abundance. Although no PSP toxin was found systemically in the fish tissues (liver, digestive tract) from this salmon kill event, the detection of Alexandrium cells and low levels of PSP toxins in salmon gills provide evidence that the enhanced mortalities were caused by direct exposure to toxic Alexandrium cells and/or to soluble toxins released during the bloom.
Publication date
PublisherElsevier
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Institute for Marine Biosciences; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number42366
NPARC number21268144
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Record identifierfc95b907-0ea2-4aad-903b-0c2a42da4d4e
Record created2013-05-09
Record modified2016-05-09
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