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Genetic affinities, ecophysiology and toxicity of Prorocentrum playfairii and P. foveolata (Dinophyceae) from Tasmanian freshwaters


Pearce, I and Hallegraeff, GM, Genetic affinities, ecophysiology and toxicity of Prorocentrum playfairii and P. foveolata (Dinophyceae) from Tasmanian freshwaters, Phycologia, 43, (3) pp. 271-281. ISSN 0031-8884 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.2216/i0031-8884-43-3-271.1


The freshwater dinoflagellates Prorocentrum playfairii (corrected from the original spelling playfairi) and P. foveolata from two lagoons in Tasmania, Australia, have been successfully cultured for the first time. Cultures were established in order to elucidate their possible toxicity, ecophysiology and genetic affinities with better-known marine congeneric species. Growth experiments indicated P. playfairii to be a slow-growing [0.09 divisions (div.) d-1], truly freshwater species that will only grow in salinities of 0-5 practical salinity units (psu). In contrast, P. foveolata tolerated salinities of 0-30 psu and exhibited a significantly faster growth rate (0.47 div. d-1). Both P. playfairii and P. foveolata grew under a wide temperature range (10-30°C and 10-25°C, respectively), indicating a tolerance to temperature fluctuations typical of shallow, enclosed water bodies. Both species were negative for toxins such as those from marine species of Prorocentrum causing diarrhetic shellfish poisoning in humans. Molecular sequencing of the large-subunit ribosomal DNA suggested that P. playfairii and P. foveolata are more closely related to toxic benthic marine Prorocentrum (such as P. lima and P. cf. belizeanum), than pelagic marine Prorocentrum (such as P. gracile, P. rhathymum, P. triestinum and P. compressum). We speculate that P. playfairii and P. foveolata most likely evolved from a common ancestor to marine benthic Prorocentrum and have since adapted to freshwater habitats.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Phycology (incl. marine grasses)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Coastal or estuarine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Pearce, I (Dr Imojen Pearce)
UTAS Author:Hallegraeff, GM (Professor Gustaaf Hallegraeff)
ID Code:29479
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2005-06-08

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