Cyst and radionuclide evidence demonstrate historic
Gymnodinium catenatum dinoflagellate populations in Manukau and Hokianga Harbours, New Zealand
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Irwin, AE and Hallegraeff, GM and McMinn, A and Harrison, J and Heijnis, H, Cyst and radionuclide evidence demonstrate historic
Gymnodinium catenatum dinoflagellate populations in Manukau and Hokianga Harbours, New Zealand, Harmful Algae, 2, (1) pp. 61-74. ISSN 1568-9883 (2003) [Refereed Article]
Between May 2000 and February 2001, a major bloom of the toxic dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum (a causative organism of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, PSP) affected over 1500km of coastline of New Zealand's North Island. As this was the first record of this species in New Zealand, we aimed to resolve whether this represented a recent introduction/spreading event or perhaps an indigenous cryptic species stimulated by environmental/climatic change. To answer this question, we analysed for G. catenatum resting cysts in 210Pb dated sediment cores (18-34cm long; sedimentation rates 0.34-0.69cm per year) collected by SCUBA divers from Manukau Harbour, where the species was first detected, and from Hokianga Harbour, where the highest shellfish toxicity was recorded, while using Wellington Harbour as a well-monitored control site. The results of this study conclusively demonstrate that abundant G. catenatum has been in northern New Zealand at least since the early 1980s, increasing up to 1200 cysts/g around the year 2000, but with low cyst concentrations possibly present since at least 1937. In contrast, Wellington Harbour cores contained only very sparse G. catenatum cysts (8cysts/g), present only to a depth of 7cm (surface mixed layer depth), reflecting an apparent recent range expansion of this dinoflagellate in New Zealand, possibly stimulated by unusual climatic conditions associated with the 2000 La Nina event. The significant increases since the early 1980s also of Protoperidinium cysts at Hokianga Harbour and of Gonyaulax, Protoperidinium and Protoceratium cysts at Manukau Harbour suggest a broad scale environmental change has occurred in Northland, New Zealand. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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