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Alexandrium minutum

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Alexandrium minutum

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Alexandrium minutum
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Protista
  •     Phylum: Protozoa
  •       Class: Dinophyceae
  •         Order: Gonyaulacales
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. minutum is a photosynthetic dinoflagellate that, like many species in its genus, is responsible for outbreaks of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). This phytoplankton species can also form extremely dense bl...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Scanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: view of the hypotheca, showing the distinctive plate arrangement.
TitleScanning electron micrograph
CaptionScanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: view of the hypotheca, showing the distinctive plate arrangement.
CopyrightChristopher J.S. Bolch
Scanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: view of the hypotheca, showing the distinctive plate arrangement.
Scanning electron micrographScanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: view of the hypotheca, showing the distinctive plate arrangement. Christopher J.S. Bolch
Scanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: ventral view showing the shapes of the first apical plate, 1', and the 6th precingular plate, 6'', as well as the distinctive ventral pore (arrowed).
TitleScanning electron micrograph
CaptionScanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: ventral view showing the shapes of the first apical plate, 1', and the 6th precingular plate, 6'', as well as the distinctive ventral pore (arrowed).
CopyrightChristopher J.S. Bolch
Scanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: ventral view showing the shapes of the first apical plate, 1', and the 6th precingular plate, 6'', as well as the distinctive ventral pore (arrowed).
Scanning electron micrographScanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: ventral view showing the shapes of the first apical plate, 1', and the 6th precingular plate, 6'', as well as the distinctive ventral pore (arrowed).Christopher J.S. Bolch
Scanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: detail of the apical pore complex, showing a distinctive hook-shaped pore.
TitleScanning electron micrograph
CaptionScanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: detail of the apical pore complex, showing a distinctive hook-shaped pore.
CopyrightChristopher J.S. Bolch
Scanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: detail of the apical pore complex, showing a distinctive hook-shaped pore.
Scanning electron micrographScanning electron micrograph of A. minutum: detail of the apical pore complex, showing a distinctive hook-shaped pore.Christopher J.S. Bolch
Light micrographs of Alexandrium minutum: (a) Apical view showing the apical pore complex. (b) Ventral view showing the distinctive shape of the first apical plate, 1', and the 6th precingular plate, 6''. (Note scale bar = 10 µm.)
TitleLight micrographs of Alexandrium minutum
CaptionLight micrographs of Alexandrium minutum: (a) Apical view showing the apical pore complex. (b) Ventral view showing the distinctive shape of the first apical plate, 1', and the 6th precingular plate, 6''. (Note scale bar = 10 µm.)
CopyrightMiguel de Salas
Light micrographs of Alexandrium minutum: (a) Apical view showing the apical pore complex. (b) Ventral view showing the distinctive shape of the first apical plate, 1', and the 6th precingular plate, 6''. (Note scale bar = 10 µm.)
Light micrographs of Alexandrium minutumLight micrographs of Alexandrium minutum: (a) Apical view showing the apical pore complex. (b) Ventral view showing the distinctive shape of the first apical plate, 1', and the 6th precingular plate, 6''. (Note scale bar = 10 µm.)Miguel de Salas
Light micrographs of Alexandrium minutum: (c) Ventral view clearly showing the shape of the anterior sulcal plate, S.a. (arrow). (d)  Another ventral view showing the shape of the distinctive shape of both the 1' and S.a., as well as the diagnostic ventral pore (arrowed). (Note scale bar = 10 µm.)
TitleLight micrographs of Alexandrium minutum
CaptionLight micrographs of Alexandrium minutum: (c) Ventral view clearly showing the shape of the anterior sulcal plate, S.a. (arrow). (d) Another ventral view showing the shape of the distinctive shape of both the 1' and S.a., as well as the diagnostic ventral pore (arrowed). (Note scale bar = 10 µm.)
CopyrightMiguel de Salas
Light micrographs of Alexandrium minutum: (c) Ventral view clearly showing the shape of the anterior sulcal plate, S.a. (arrow). (d)  Another ventral view showing the shape of the distinctive shape of both the 1' and S.a., as well as the diagnostic ventral pore (arrowed). (Note scale bar = 10 µm.)
Light micrographs of Alexandrium minutumLight micrographs of Alexandrium minutum: (c) Ventral view clearly showing the shape of the anterior sulcal plate, S.a. (arrow). (d) Another ventral view showing the shape of the distinctive shape of both the 1' and S.a., as well as the diagnostic ventral pore (arrowed). (Note scale bar = 10 µm.)Miguel de Salas
Line diagrams of Alexandrium minutum, adapted from Balech (1995). (a) Plate morphology of the ventral surface. (b) Plate morphology around the apical pore complex (APC). (c) Variation in shape of the first apical plate and its degree of contact (or lack thereof) with the APC. (d) Posterior view showing the plate arrangement in the hypotheca.
TitleLine diagrams of Alexandrium minutum
CaptionLine diagrams of Alexandrium minutum, adapted from Balech (1995). (a) Plate morphology of the ventral surface. (b) Plate morphology around the apical pore complex (APC). (c) Variation in shape of the first apical plate and its degree of contact (or lack thereof) with the APC. (d) Posterior view showing the plate arrangement in the hypotheca.
CopyrightSherkin Island Marine Station
Line diagrams of Alexandrium minutum, adapted from Balech (1995). (a) Plate morphology of the ventral surface. (b) Plate morphology around the apical pore complex (APC). (c) Variation in shape of the first apical plate and its degree of contact (or lack thereof) with the APC. (d) Posterior view showing the plate arrangement in the hypotheca.
Line diagrams of Alexandrium minutumLine diagrams of Alexandrium minutum, adapted from Balech (1995). (a) Plate morphology of the ventral surface. (b) Plate morphology around the apical pore complex (APC). (c) Variation in shape of the first apical plate and its degree of contact (or lack thereof) with the APC. (d) Posterior view showing the plate arrangement in the hypotheca.Sherkin Island Marine Station

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Alexandrium minutum Halim, 1960

Other Scientific Names

  • Alexandrium ibericum Balech, 1985
  • Alexandrium lusitanicum Balech, 1985

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. minutum is a photosynthetic dinoflagellate that, like many species in its genus, is responsible for outbreaks of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). This phytoplankton species can also form extremely dense blooms that have the capacity to kill finfish, in addition to their PSP toxin production. As this species forms a tough resting cyst, it is easily transport by ballast water and in translocated shellfish, and it has been reported from most continents and every ocean. Control appears to be impossible.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Protista
  •         Phylum: Protozoa
  •             Class: Dinophyceae
  •                 Order: Gonyaulacales
  •                     Family: Gonyaulacaceae
  •                         Genus: Alexandrium
  •                             Species: Alexandrium minutum

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Among the armoured dinoflagellates, the genus Alexandrium has an even more confusing taxonomic history than most. Species in this genus have been classified in the genera Gessnerium Halim, Goniodoma Stein, Gonyaulax Diesing, Protogonyaulax Taylor and Pyrodinium Plate. Of those species that are now classified as Alexandrium, the first to be described was Goniodoma ostenfeldii, by Paulsen (1904). He then transferred this species to Gonyaulax in 1949. It was not until the 1970s that a distinct group was recognized within Gonyaulax, then referred to as “Gonyaulax of the tamarensis or catenella group”.

It was in 1960 that Halim discovered a small dinoflagellate in Alexandria harbour, Egypt, for which he created the new genus Alexandrium. Balech (1989) recognized that species in the “tamarensis group” were very similar to the species in Halim’s genera, of which Alexandrium had chronological priority, and transferred them into this genus.

According to Balech (1995), species in this genus are characterized by their Kofoidian thecal plate formula Po, 4’, 6”, 5”’, 2””, 6c and 9-10s. Most species have thin and smooth thecal plates, though Alexandrium minutum can sometimes have a reticulated hypotheca (Montresoret al., 1990; Balech, 1995).

There are two distinct genotypes that comprise the morphospecies A. minutum, one of which occurs in Europe and Western Australia, the other in the north- and south-Pacific. There is some speculation that the Pacific genotype of A. minutum may be an altogether different species (Montresoret al., 2004). However, as they have not yet been separated, both genotypes are here treated as one species.

It is suggested that Alexandrium ibericum and Alexandrium lusitanicum are junior synonyms of A.minutum (Balech, 1995; Lilly et al., 2005).

Description

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According to Balech (1995): “Alexandrium minutum is distinguished by its small size. Cells are oval to elliptical in ventral view and somewhat dorsoventrally flattened. Cingulum is well-excavated, without lists, and descending (usually 1 but sometimes <1). Hypotheca is hemi-elliptical, sometimes somewhat antapically flattened, and scarcely sloping. Po is oval, somewhat irregular, more or less concave to the right, and rather narrow. Callus is very reduced. 1’ is narrow, contacting the Po directly or, more often, indirectly by a thread-like prolongation that can be rather long and not easily observed unless the theca is dissected. Ventral pore is small and always very close to the posterior extreme of the anterior right margin.

 

S.a. is approximately as long as it is wide with a straight or almost straight anterior margin and a slightly deep posterior sinus. S.s.a. is very narrow and rhomboidal. S.s.p. is almost always rather short. S.d.p. has an almost horizontal anterior margin and a convex and oblique posterior margin that is more often subdivided into two almost straight portions with opposite obliquity. S.d.a. is triangular and narrow. Accessory sulcal plates are very small. S.p. is almost always symmetrical.

 

Theca frequently has an irregular arrogation that is barely visible, diffuse, and seen mainly in the 1’ and even more in the S.p. However, thecae from some locations have an incipient reticulation in the hypotheca.

 

Dimensions: L 15.5-29, the majority 21-26. A equals L, sometimes a little larger but, more often, somewhat smaller, Trd is always smaller than L and 4 to 6 µm less than A. Halim noted L 16-23.2, A 13-20.3 (possibly he was referring to the transdiameter).”

 

This species has a resting cyst or hypnozygote which has a transparent wall with a mucoid outer layer. It is the shape of a flattened sphere (hemispherical) so that seen from above it looks disk-like, with a diameter of 24-29 µm, and from the side it is D-shaped or reniform and 15-19 µm high (Bolch et al., 1991).

Plant Type

Top of page Aquatic
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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Since it was described by Halim in Egypt in 1960, it has been reported from most continents and every ocean (Balech, 1995; Hansenet al., 2003; Lilly et al., 2005). Either genotype of this species is found on all temperate and warm coasts in the world. Especially prominent are the Mediterranean Sea, the European north Atlantic, south- and south-east Asia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Balech (1995), Lilly et al. (2005), and Hansen et al. (2003) provide a thorough discussion of affected localities.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Sea Areas

Atlantic, AntarcticAbsent, intercepted onlyLilly et al., 2005
Atlantic, Eastern CentralAbsent, intercepted onlyLilly et al., 2005
Atlantic, NortheastWidespreadNativeLilly et al., 2005Portugal to Norway
Atlantic, NorthwestPresent, few occurrencesLilly et al., 2005
Atlantic, SoutheastLocalisedLilly et al., 2005South Africa
Atlantic, SouthwestAbsent, intercepted onlyLilly et al., 2005
Atlantic, Western CentralAbsent, intercepted onlyLilly et al., 2005
Indian Ocean, AntarcticAbsent, intercepted onlyLilly et al., 2005
Indian Ocean, EasternLocalisedLilly et al., 2005
Indian Ocean, WesternAbsent, intercepted onlyLilly et al., 2005
Mediterranean and Black SeaWidespreadNativeLilly et al., 2005Widespread in the Mediterranean
Pacific, AntarcticLocalisedNativeLilly et al., 2005Great Australian Bight
Pacific, Eastern CentralAbsent, intercepted onlyLilly et al., 2005
Pacific, NortheastAbsent, intercepted onlyLilly et al., 2005
Pacific, NorthwestLocalisedNativeLilly et al., 2005Japan
Pacific, SoutheastAbsent, intercepted onlyLilly et al., 2005
Pacific, SouthwestLocalisedNativeLilly et al., 2005New Zealand, Australia
Pacific, Western CentralLocalisedNativeLilly et al., 2005Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia

Asia

ChinaPresent, few occurrencesLiu and Liang, 2008
IndiaPresent, few occurrencesGodhe et al., 2001
-KarnatakaLocalisedGodhe et al., 2001Offshore Mangalore
JapanWidespreadLilly et al., 2005
KuwaitWidespread2001Glibert et al., 2002
MalaysiaLocalisedUsup et al., 2002
-Peninsular MalaysiaLocalisedUsup et al., 2002
TaiwanWidespreadLilly et al., 2005
ThailandLocalisedPiumsomboon et al., 2001Prakan River Estauary
TurkeyLocalisedBalech, 1995
VietnamLocalised2000Yoshida et al., 2000

Africa

EgyptLocalisedHalim, 1960
South AfricaLocalised2003McCauley et al., 2008Cape Town Habour
TunisiaLocalisedDally et al., 2001

North America

USALocalisedBalech, 1995
-New YorkLocalisedBalech, 1995Minneola

Central America and Caribbean

JamaicaLocalisedHansen et al., 2003

Europe

CroatiaLocalisedMarasovic et al., 1995Kastela Bay
DenmarkPresentHansen et al., 2003Korsor Nor
FranceWidespreadBelin, 1993
IrelandLocalisedHansen et al., 2003
ItalyWidespreadMontresor et al., 1990
NorwayLocalisedBalech and Tangen, 1985Oslofjord
PortugalLocalisedFranco et al., 1995
SpainWidespreadVila et al., 2001
-Balearic IslandsLocalisedForteza et al., 1998Palma de Mallorca
SwedenLocalisedHansen et al., 2003
UKLocalisedNascimento et al., 2005

Oceania

AustraliaWidespreadde et al., 2001
-New South WalesLocalisedEmmerik MJvan, 1999
-South AustraliaLocalisedBolch et al., 1991
-Western AustraliaLocalisedSwan River Trust, 1998
New ZealandWidespreadHansen et al., 2003

History of Introduction and Spread

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There is no evidence of introduction of this species, which seems to be cosmopolitan and native throughout its range, in the form of one genotype in the Atlantic / Indian Ocean, or the other in the Pacific. However, due to its highly resistant resting stage, it is easy for this species to travel from one contaminated harbour to another via ballast water.


In Australia, the first record for A. minutum is that of Hallegraeff (1988), closely followed by the work of Jean Cannon (1990), on the discovery of this species in the Port River (Adelaide, South Australia). Shortly after this its resting cyst was described (Bolchet al., 1991), and in a survey of the genus in south-eastern Australian waters, reported only from this locality (Hallegraeff et al., 1991).

Risk of Introduction

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As stated in the Distrubution section, there is a high likelihood that this species is already cosmopolitan. However in harbours or estuaries with no native populations, the risk of introduction is high because this species has both a resistant cyst lifecycle stage and a widespread distribution. Once a bloom occurs in a newly colonized habitat, the resulting seed population of cysts available to pioneer blooms in subsequent seasons is of a magnitude that makes eradication physically impossible.

Habitat

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This species is primarily an inhabitant of environments with a high terrestrial influence, such as lagoons and estuaries where nutrient levels are high, the water column is stratified, and mechanical disturbance low. In spite of this, A. minutum is able to grow in coastal areas where land-derived influences are low.

 

Thus, A. minutum is primarily a species which inhabits stable environments within lagoons and estuaries with stratified water conditions and enhanced freshwater inputs (Delgadoet al., 1990; Giacobbe et al., 1996). It thrives in a range of water temperature conditions, from temperate environments in northern Europe (Franco et al., 1994; Elbrachter, 1998; Perssonet al., 2000; Hansen et al., 2003; Nascimentoet al., 2005), and the Mediterranean (Halim, 1960; Balech, 1989; Delgado et al., 1990; Belin, 1993; Honsell, 1993; Garceset al., 2004), to tropical and subtropical waters (Hwang and Tsai, 1999; Hwanget al., 1999; Yoshidaet al., 2000; Godhe et al., 2001), to southern hemisphere temperate waters (Oshima et al., 1989; Bolch et al., 1991; MacKenzie and Berkett, 1997; Hansen et al., 2003; Lilly et al., 2005).

 

An important factor in the choice of habitat of this species is the requirement for a shallow water depth, as cysts which provide the seed population needed to initiate a bloom must be exposed to light in order to germinate.

 

This species is relatively well studied due to its widespread distribution and toxic potential. However a large proportion of our knowledge is from populations in Atlantic and Mediterranean Europe, and to a lesser extent Australia and New Zealand. Little is known by comparison of its biology and ecology in tropical areas.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Mud flats Present, no further details
Intertidal zone Present, no further details
Brackish
Estuaries Principal habitat
Lagoons Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Lagoons Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Marine
 
Inshore marine Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Inshore marine Principal habitat Natural
Pelagic zone (offshore) Principal habitat
Benthic zone Secondary/tolerated habitat

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Genetics

Several ribosomal RNA gene sequences of A. minutum can be found in GenBank. They fall broadly into two genotypes, described by Lilly et al. (2005) as the “Global” and “Pacific” clades. They form a monophyletic group, indicating either that they are all one species, or if they should be separated into distinct species, they still would be genetically more closely related to each other than to any other species.

Phylogenetically, the species A. minutum as a whole forms part of what is known as the A. minutum group within the Alexandrium clade, which also includes A. insuetum, A. tamutum, A. ostenfeldii and A. andersoni (Lilly et al., 2005).

Reproductive Biology

A. minutum has a typical, sexual dinoflagellate life cycle with a resting cyst capable of persisting in sediments for many years (Bolch et al., 1991). This species also has a complex mating system (Blackburn and Parker, 2005) in which certain strains only mate with other, compatible strains (complex heterothallic). This probably reflects recognition of more than one surface protein.

Environmental Requirements

Given the degree of genetic differentiation between the two clades of A. minutum, it is not surprising that this species shows a vast range of environmental tolerances, from cold-temperate to fully tropical, and spanning a wide range of salinities and nutrient conditions. As stated above, this species is present in a range of water temperatures, though it seems to prefer lower salinity conditions present in estuarine systems.

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Depth (m b.s.l.) Optimum Photic zone
Salinity (part per thousand) 15 35 Optimum Estuarine and coastal areas
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 15 25 Optimum 7-35 tolerated, found from tropical to cool-temperate waters

Notes on Natural Enemies

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A natural parasite of A. minutum has been identified (Erard-Le Dennet al., 2000).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

This species is primarily an inhabitant of environments with a high terrestrial influence, such as lagoons and estuaries where nutrient levels are high, the water column is stratified, and mechanical disturbance low. In spite of this, A. minutum is able to grow in coastal areas where land-derived influences are low. As such it is capable of dispersal along natural currents downstream from seed populations in estuaries, lagoons and bays.

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

No evidence for vector-mediated introduction exists for this species.

Accidental Introduction

Translocated shellfish stock originating from infested areas can act as a transmission vector (Scholin et al., 1995), and PCR detection methods have been developed to detect this species in contaminated mussels (Galluzzi et al., 2005).

Ballast water contamination is the single largest risk factor (Hallegraeff and Bolch, 1992), which could introduce A. minutum to new areas.

Intentional Introduction

No evidence for intentional human-mediated introduction exists for this species.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aquaculturecysts in shellfish, possible but not documented Yes Yes
Hitchhikercysts in ballast water, possible but not documented Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aquaculture stockcysts in shellfish, suspected only Yes Yes
Ship ballast water and sedimentresting cysts, no evidence for this species Yes Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Negative
Economic/livelihood Negative
Human health Negative

Economic Impact

Top of page
A. minutum has the potential for economic impact in two different ways: As a cause of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), it can affect shellfish production and lead to closures of shellfish harvesting during blooms. Depuration of affected shellfish, while a possibility, is a long process and becomes unfeasible. Shellfish contamination by PSP toxins is one of the principal issues affecting shellfish production in infested areas. Human health costs are minimized by extensive testing of shellfish for the presence of PSP toxins as well as environmental phytoplankton monitoring of affected regions. There is an increased cost of production caused by the need for testing for biotoxins.

 

A. minutum-linked Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) outbreaks were originally thought to be restricted to warmer waters (Mediterranean, Taiwan, New Zealand), and those from colder environments had consistently been linked with A. catenella and A. tamarense (Hallegraeffet al., 1988). However, A. minutum has since been responsible for PSP events from southern Australia and New Zealand (Hallegraeff et al., 1988; Oshimaet al., 1989; Changet al., 1997) to northern France (Belin, 1993), from Spain and Ireland (Gross, 1989; Franco et al., 1994) to India (Godheet al., 2000; Godheet al., 2001) and Malaysia (Usupet al., 2002). As it occurs in most localities which possess the correct environment for it, it is most likely native throughout much of its range.

Environmental Impact

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The environmental impact of A. minutum is unknown. If, as it seems, this species is native throughout its cosmopolitan range, it may be inappropriate to talk of environmental impact caused by this species. Perhaps blooms of this species are instead themselves caused by environmental damage.

Social Impact

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The reduction of shellfish consumption following outbreaks of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning is significant and has a negative impact on the industry in addition to the damage caused by the cessation of shellfish harvesting.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
  • Negatively impacts tourism
  • Reduced amenity values
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Pathogenic
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

Top of page Economic Value

There is a low potential for developing toxin standards from strains that produce large amounts of a single toxin, and for the production of saxitoxin as a chemical weapon.

Uses List

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General

  • Laboratory use
  • Research model

Materials

  • Miscellaneous materials

Detection and Inspection

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Detections methods include:

 


  • Microscopical examination of sediment and plankton samples

  • PCR detection

  • rRNA-targeted fluorescent in-situ hybridisation and sandwich hybridisation.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Vegetative cells of this species are similar to several other Alexandrium species in its size range: the highest risk of confusion exists with A. angustitabulatum Taylor, a small species described from a bloom in Whangarei, New Zealand (Balech, 1985; Cembellaet al., 1987), A. camurascutulum Mackenzie & Todd, also from New Zealand, and A. tamutum Montresor et al., described from Mediterranean waters (Montresor et al., 2004), but present also in Tasmania, Australia.

 

This species could also be confused, when examined under a low power light microscope without fluorescent microscopy capabilities, with similarly sized Scrippsiella species and Heterocapsa species.

 

Resting cysts of this species are similar in shape and size to those of A. tamutum (Montresor et al., 2004), and could also be confused with those of A. margalefi (Hallegraeff et al., 1991), which are of similar size but spherical in shape. Resting cyst are quite distinct from the cylindrical cyst of A. catenella (Fukuyo, 1985), A. tamarense (Fritzet al., 1989) and A. cohorticula (Fukuyo and Pholpunthin, 1990a), as well as the spherical cysts of A. affine (Fukuyoet al., 1985), A. leei (Fukuyo and Pholpunthin, 1990b), A. ostenfeldii (Mackenzie et al., 1996), and A. taylori (Garces et al., 1998),or the paratabulate cyst of A. pseudogoniaulax (Montresor, 1995).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

Ballast water containment. Shellfish translocation prevention or quarantine. May already be established (sometimes below detection levels) in most places.

Ballast water contamination is the single largest risk factor (Hallegraeff and Bolch, 1992). Filtration to remove this species (Cangelosi et al., 2007) would need to be under 25 µm, making it not feasible. Treatment with biocides is ineffective with cyst-forming species (Bolch and Hallegraeff, 1993; Gregg and Hallegraeff, 2007) and also poses corrosion issues. Heat treatment is a possibility though not yet implemented successfully in commercial situations (Hallegraeff, 1998).

Early warning systems

Possibility of automated quantitative detection with qPCR probes. Several have been developed (Galluzziet al., 2004; Galluzzi et al., 2005; Galluzziet al., 2006).

Rapid response

Not applicable. Closure of shellfish harvesting at higher than legislated PSP levels in shellfish meat.

Containment/Zoning

Prevention of ballast water, shellfish and sediment exchange between contaminated and non-contaminated areas may prevent non-natural dispersal. However this species is able to grow in coastal areas with low land influence, allowing fairly long-distance natural dispersal.

Control

No management is feasible once a seed population is established.

Biological control

Biological control is not currently developed for phytoplankton species. There are some natural parasites of this species (Erard-Le Denn et al., 2000), which may eventually be able to be developed for biological control. Recent work on marine viruses affecting a range of other species (Brussaard et al., 1996; Larsen et al., 2001; Brussaard et al., 2004a; Brussaard et al., 2004b; Baudoux and Brussaard, 2005; Nagasaki et al., 2005) open a potential avenue for future research in this direction.

Chemical control

Not feasible to target single cells.

Mitigation

Not applicable. Damage control by closing shellfish harvesting if bloom causes PSP levels to exceed legal limits.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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The most recent knowledge of this species is summarized by Hansen et al. (2003), Lilly et al. (2005) and Nascimiento et al. (2005).

References

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Balech E, 1985. The genus Alexandrium or Gonyaulax of the tamarensis group. Toxic Dinoflagellates:33-38.

Balech E, 1989. Redescription of Alexandrium minutum Halim (Dinophyceae) type species of the genus Alexandrium. Phycologia, 28:206-211.

Balech E, 1995. The Genus Alexandrium Halim (Dinoflagellata). Sherkin Island, Sherkin Is. Marine Station., 151 pp.

Balech E; Tangen K, 1985. Morphology and taxonomy of toxic species in the tamarensis group (Dinophyceae) Alexandrium excavatum (Braarud) comb. nov. and Alexandrium ostenfeldii (Paulsen) comb. nov. Sarsia, 70:333-343.

Baudoux AC; Brussaard CPD, 2005. Characterization of different viruses infecting the marine harmful algal bloom species Phaeocystis globosa. Virology, 341(1):80-90. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00426822

Belin C, 1993. Distribution of Dinophysis spp. and Alexandrium minutum along French coasts since 1984 and their DSP and PSP toxicity levels. , Elsevier, pp. In: Toxic Phytoplankton Blooms in the Sea [ed. by Smayda TJ, Shimizu Y] Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, 469-474.

Blackburn SI; Parker N, 2005. Microalgal life cycles: Encystment and excystment. In: Algal Culturing Techniques [ed. by Andersen RA] Burlington, MA, USA: Elsevier Academic Press, 399-417.

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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30/05/08 Original text by:

Miguel de Salas, University of Tasmania, School of Plant Science, Life Sciences Building, Australia

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