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Accumulation of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins in planktonic copepods during a bloom of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense in Hiroshima Bay, western Japan
Hamasaki, K.; Takahashi, T.; Uye, S.-I. (2003). Accumulation of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins in planktonic copepods during a bloom of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense in Hiroshima Bay, western Japan. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 143(5): 981-988. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-003-1131-7
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Hamasaki, K.
  • Takahashi, T.
  • Uye, S.-I.

Abstract
    Concentrations of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins in toxic dinoflagellate cells and in marine planktonic copepods were monitored during the bloom of Alexandrium tamarense in Hiroshima Bay, western Japan. Concentration of the toxins retained by copepods was a function of the ambient toxin concentration, i.e. the product of A. tamarense cell density and cellular toxicity. The toxin concentration in copepods increased with the increase of toxicants in the seawater then leveled off, but decreased significantly at higher concentrations. In the field, the maximum toxin concentration was 1.2 pmol ind-1, whereas in the laboratory, the copepod Acartia omorii accumulated a much higher concentration of PSP toxins (24 pmol ind-1). Feeding avoidance against Alexandrium tamarense and a shift to alternative food sources such as diatoms in the field might keep their toxin levels lower than their potentially maximum level. The copepod toxin levels in the field were not so high as to cause an instantaneous lethal effect on their predator fishes but may reach possibly lethal levels after a few days' continuous feeding. Overall toxin retention by copepods after 12 h feeding and 2 h starvation was only 2.5% of total ingested toxins, which suggested that a significant amount of toxins was released into the seawater. Measurements of toxin reduction and gut evacuation suggested that the toxins were removed through both fecal evacuation and metabolism (e.g. excretion, decomposition and transformation). The results, as a whole, imply that copepods can be a link for PSP toxin flux in both pelagic and benthic food webs and can also be a sink for toxins by metabolizing and removing them from the environment.

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