Ecology of Ostreopsis cf. ovata blooms in the northwestern Adriatic Sea

Stefano ACCORONI, Federica COLOMBO, Salvatore PICHIERRI, Tiziana ROMAGNOLI, Mauro MARINI, Cecilia BATTOCCHI, Antonella PENNA & Cecilia TOTTI

en Cryptogamie, Algologie 33 (2) - Pages 191-198

Published on 25 May 2012

The ecology of Ostreopsis cf. ovata blooms was investigated to evaluate the role of environmental factors (temperature, hydrodynamism, nutrient concentrations, depth and substratum) on the bloom dynamics. This paper reports the present knowledge on O. cf. ovata blooms along the Conero Riviera (NW Adriatic Sea), on the basis of samplings carried out from 2006 to 2010. The annual maximum of benthic cell abundance was always observed in late-summer, reaching the order of magnitude of 106 cells g-1 fw (corresponding to 107 cells g-1 dw and 104 cells cm-2) on macrophyte samples. Comparing the mean abundances settled on seaweeds with those growing on hard substrata, significantly higher abundances were observed on the latter. Hydrodynamism plays a major role in Ostreopsis blooms, as significantly higher abundances were observed in sheltered sites compared with exposed ones. The abundances of O. cf. ovata showed a marked decrease with depth. Temperature and nutrients do not seem to play an important effect on the O. cf. ovata blooms. High levels of ovatoxins were recorded in natural samples; episodes of death of both benthic invertebrates (limpets, sea urchins and mussels) and macroalgae were commonly observed during O. cf. ovata blooms.

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