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Populations of the red tide forming dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans (Macartney): A comparison between the Black Sea and the northern Adriatic Sea

March 16, 2014

Populations of Noctiluca scintillans (hereafter Noctiluca) were compared from two regions: the northeastern-central Black Sea and the northern Adriatic Sea. In both seas samples were collected in near-shore waters 2–3 times per month during 2004–2012. For analysis of feeding activities and seasonal dynamics additional cruise data on the open waters of the Black Sea were used. Comparison between the two populations shows similarity in size structure with two classes 401–500 μm and 501–600 μm being the most numerous. Seasonal changes in cell abundance in both seas demonstrated a regular annual maximum with the peak period of high abundances in May–June with additional sporadic peaks in other seasons. In spring the average number of food vacuoles in the cell (1.78) and the proportion of feeding cells in populations (79%) in the Adriatic Sea were similar to those in the Black Sea (1.58 and 76%). In September–October, these parameters were lower both in the Adriatic Sea (0.69 and 49%) and in the Black Sea (1.46 and 65%) demonstrating that Noctiluca was better provided with food in spring. Among biotic parameters (wet phytoplankton biomass, chlorophyll biomass and zooplankton species) only the concentration of the eggs ofCalanus euxinus was significantly positively correlated with abundance of Noctiluca. The possible effect of a high concentration of copepod eggs on the growth of Noctiluca in the peak period is discussed. An obvious negative relationship was observed between Noctiluca cell numbers in the peak period and wind velocity in both seas. The most significant negative correlation was observed between the number of windy hours per month (velocity more than 5–6 m s−1) and cell concentrations in the Black Sea (r = −0.92) and in the northern Adriatic Sea (r = −0.67). On this basis, a new hypothesis has been proposed and discussed: in connection with features of the food behavior of Noctiluca, its outbursts during the peak period are controlled by the wind. An evident positive relationship was observed between the number of Noctiluca in the peak period and its quantity in the preceding months in both seas. Thus, we suggest that abundance data during early spring and weather forecasts (winds) may be used for medium-term prediction of Noctiluca outbursts and red tides.

  • Mikaelyan AS,
  •  Malej A,
  •  Shiganova TA,
  •  Turk V,
  •  Sivkovitch AE,
  •  Musaeva EI,
  •  Kogovšek T,
  •  Lukasheva TA, 2014: Populations of the red tide forming dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans (Macartney): A comparison between the Black Sea and the northern Adriatic Sea, Harmful Algae, 33, 29-40, doi:10.1016/j.hal.2014.01.004. Article.
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