Bulletin of Marine and Coastal Research

Epiphytic dinoflagellates of Thalassia testudinum in two coastal systems of the Colombian Caribbean

Natalia Arbelaez M., José Ernesto Mancera Pineda, Beatriz Reguera


Studies on potentially toxic epibenthic dinoflagellates have been increased in the last years due to growing number of harmful events attributed to some of these microalgae. These events represent a risk to human health, as well as to diverse economic activities. With the aim of confirming the presence of these dinoflagellates in Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombian Caribbean, monthly samples of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum were collected between January 2014 and December 2015 in two coastal systems (Bay and Lagoon) located in Chengue Bay (11°20´ N y 74°07´W). Grass leaves were manually collected, placed in plastic bags with seawater and transferred to laboratory for detachment of epibenthic microalgae by vigorous shaking. To identify the species, three types of microscopy were used (optical, inverted with epifluorescence and scanning electron microscopy). Fourteen species of potentially toxic epiphytic dinoflagellates, distributed in four genera (Gambierdiscus, Coolia, Ostreopsis and Prorocentrum) were identified. Prorocentrum was the most representative genus. Ostreopsis cf. ovata, P. hoffmannianum and P. lima were the most frequent species in the Bay, whereas Prorocentrum sp. 1 and P. rhathymum were the most frequent in the Lagoon. This study depicts the main features of the observed species, considering that precise identification at species level is required for any ecological study that seeks to provide elements for risk management against the toxic or harmful effects caused by epibenthic dinoflagellates.


Toxic dinoflagelates, Colombian Caribbean, Benthic HABs, Seagrass.


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DOI: 10.25268/bimc.invemar.2017.46.2.725


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