Overview

Brief Summary

Species Overview

Alexandrium minutum is an armoured, marine, planktonic dinoflagellate. It is a widely distributed species associated with toxic PSP blooms in coastal regions.

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Comprehensive Description

Alexandrium minutum cell shape can vary from hemispherical to conical. The cell is somewhat dorso-ventrally flattened. Differences in morphology particularly in the surface markings have been found between different isolates.
  • Balech E (1989) Rediscription of Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae) type species of the genus Alexandrium. Phycologia 28: 206-211.
  • Balech E (1995) The genus Alexandrium Halim (Dinoflagellata). Sherkin Island Marine Station
  • G. Hansen, N. Daugbjerg & J.M. Franco (2003). Morphology, toxin composition and LSU rDNA phylogeny of Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae) from Denmark, with some morphological observations on other European strains. Harmful Algae 2: 317-335
  • Scholin CA, Anderson DA (1994) Identification of group- and strain-specific genetic markers for globally distributed Alexandrium (Dinophyceae). I. RFLP Analysis of SSU rRNA genes. Journal of Phycology 30:744-75.
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Source: Harmful Phytoplankton Project

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Physical Description

Morphology

Morphology and Structure

Alexandrium minutum is a photosynthetic species with an elliptical nucleus.

  • 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 Marine Station, Ireland. 151 pp.
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Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Thecal Plate Description

The plate formula for Alexandrium minutum is: Po, 4', 6'', 6c, 10s, 5''', 2''''. The epitheca is larger than the hypotheca (Figs. 1, 2). The apical pore complex (APC) is oval to broadly triangular and pointed posteriorly (Fig. 3). The apical pore plate (Po) is large, narrow and oval with a wide comma-shaped foramen (Figs. 3, 5). The Po can be either in direct contact with the first apical plate (1') (Figs. 3,5a) or indirectly connected via a thin suture (thread-like process) (Fig. 5b). A characteristic ventral pore is located on the slender and rhomboidal 1' plate (Figs. 2-4). The distinctive sixth precingular plate (6'') long and narrow (Fig. 1).

The epitheca is hemielliptical to conical with convex sides (Figs. 1, 2). The apex is broadly rounded. The short hypotheca is hemielliptical with a convex to flat antapex (Figs. 1, 2). The deeply excavated cingulum is displaced in a descending fashion one time its width with thickened margins (Figs. 1, 2). The sulcus is shallow with narrow lists (Figs. 1, 2).

  • 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 Marine Station, Ireland. 151 pp.
  • Hallegraeff, G.M. 1991. Aquaculturists Guide to Harmful Australian Microalgae. Fishing Industry Training Board of Tasmania/CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart, 111 pp.
  • Hwang, D.-F., Y.-H. Tsai, H.-J. Liao, K. Matsuoka, T. Noguchi & S.-S. Jeng 1999. Toxins of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum Halim from the coastal waters and aquaculture ponds in southern Taiwan. Fish. Sci. 65: 171-172.
  • Steidinger, K.A. & K. Tangen 1996. Dinoflagellates. In: C.R. Tomas (ed.), Identifying Marine Diatoms and Dinoflagellates, Academic Press, New York: 387-598.
  • Taylor, F.J.R., Y. Fukuyo & J. Larsen 1995. Taxonomy of harmful dinoflagellates. In: G.M. Hallegraeff, D.M. Anderson & A.D. Cembella (eds.), Manual on Harmful Marine Microalgae, IOC Manuals and Guides No. 33. UNESCO, France: 283-317.
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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Taxonomic Description

Cells of Alexandrium minutum are small, nearly spherical to ellipsoidal, somewhat dorsoventrally flattened and occassionally longer than wide (Figs. 1, 2). Cells are single with a characteristic ventral pore on the first apical plate, 1' (Figs. 1-4). Thecal plates thin. Thecal surface ornamenation can vary from light to heavy reticulation mostly confined to the hypotheca with small scattered pores. Intercalary bands are present (Figs. 1-3). Large range in size in this species: between 15-30 µm in length and 13-24 µm in transdiameter width.

  • 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 Marine Station, Ireland. 151 pp.
  • Hallegraeff, G.M. 1991. Aquaculturists Guide to Harmful Australian Microalgae. Fishing Industry Training Board of Tasmania/CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart, 111 pp.
  • Hwang, D.-F., Y.-H. Tsai, H.-J. Liao, K. Matsuoka, T. Noguchi & S.-S. Jeng 1999. Toxins of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum Halim from the coastal waters and aquaculture ponds in southern Taiwan. Fish. Sci. 65: 171-172.
  • Steidinger, K.A. & K. Tangen 1996. Dinoflagellates. In: C.R. Tomas (ed.), Identifying Marine Diatoms and Dinoflagellates, Academic Press, New York: 387-598.
  • Taylor, F.J.R., Y. Fukuyo & J. Larsen 1995. Taxonomy of harmful dinoflagellates. In: G.M. Hallegraeff, D.M. Anderson & A.D. Cembella (eds.), Manual on Harmful Marine Microalgae, IOC Manuals and Guides No. 33. UNESCO, France: 283-317.
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Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Type Information

Type locality: Mediterranean Sea: Alexandra Harbour, Egypt
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Locality

Alexandrium minutum is widely distributed species found in many coastal areas of the world. Populations have been recorded from Alexandria Harbor, Egypt, Italy, northern Adriatic waters (Mediterranean Sea), Turkey, Spain and Portugal (as A. ibericum), France, South Australia, and the east coast of the United States.

  • Balech, E. 1985b. The genus Alexandrium or Gonyaulax of the tamarensis group. In: D.M. Anderson, A.W. White & D.G. Baden (eds.), Toxic Dinoflagellates, Elsevier, New York: 33-38.
  • Halim, Y. 1960. Alexandrium minutum n. gen. n. sp., dinoflagelle provocant 'des eaux rouges'. Vie et Milieu 11: 102-105.
  • Hallegraeff, G.M., D.A. Steffensen & R. Wetherbee 1988. Three estuarine Australian dinoflagellates that can produce paralytic shellfish poisons. J. Plank. Res. 10: 533-541.
  • Honsell, G. 1993. First report of Alexandrium minutum in the Northern Adriatic waters (Mediterranean Sea). In: T.J. Smayda & Y. Shimizu (eds.), Toxic Phytoplankton Blooms in the Sea, Elsevier, Amsterdam: 127-132.
  • Koray, T. & B. Buyukisik 1988. Toxic dinoflagellate blooms in the harbour region of Izmir Bay (Aegean Sea). Rev. Inter. d'Oceanogr. Med. 91-92: 25-42.
  • Montresor, M., D. Marino, A. Zingone & G. Dafnis 1990. Three Alexandrium species from coastal Tyrrhenian waters. In: E. Graneli, B. Sundstrom, L. Edler & D. Anderson (eds.), Toxic Marine Phytoplankton, Elsevier, New York: 82-87.
  • Nezan, E., C. Belin, P. Lassus, G. Piclet & J.P. Berthome 1989. Alexandrium minutum: first PSP species occurrence in France. In: Fourth International Conference on Toxic Marine Phytoplankton: Abstracts, Lund, Sweden: 111.
  • Steidinger, K.A. & K. Tangen 1996. Dinoflagellates. In: C.R. Tomas (ed.), Identifying Marine Diatoms and Dinoflagellates, Academic Press, New York: 387-598.
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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Depth range based on 3044 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 723 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 90
  Temperature range (°C): -1.352 - 16.581
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.717 - 6.894
  Salinity (PPS): 33.551 - 38.049
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.272 - 8.654
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.209 - 0.630
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.585 - 6.301

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 90

Temperature range (°C): -1.352 - 16.581

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.717 - 6.894

Salinity (PPS): 33.551 - 38.049

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.272 - 8.654

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.209 - 0.630

Silicate (umol/l): 1.585 - 6.301
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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General Ecology

Ecology

Alexandrium minutum is a planktonic dinoflagellate species associated with toxic paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) events in coastal regions around the world. This species also produces dense (reddish-brown) red tides. A red tide of this species reported from Taiwan had cell densities of a high as 2.5 X 107 cells/L . Another red tide of Alexandrium minutum reported from South Australia revealed cell levels of 4.8 X 108 cells/L .

This species produces a clear resting cyst as part of its life cycle. Cysts vary from hemispherical to circular in shape: cyst circular in apical view 24-29 µm in diameter (Fig. 6); kidney-shaped in lateral view (15-19 µm long). The cyst wall is covered with mucilage.

  • Bolch, C.J., S.I. Blackburn, J.A. Cannon & G.M. Hallegraeff 1991. The resting cyst of the red-tide dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae). Phycologia 30: 215-219.
  • Cannon, J. 1990. Development and dispersal of red tides in the Port River, South Australia. In: E. Graneli, B. Sundtrom, L. Edler & D. Anderson (eds.), Toxic Marine Phytoplankton, Elsevier, New York: 110-115.
  • Hallegraeff, G.M. 1991. Aquaculturists Guide to Harmful Australian Microalgae. Fishing Industry Training Board of Tasmania/CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart, 111 pp.
  • Hwang, D.-F., Y.-H. Tsai, H.-J. Liao, K. Matsuoka, T. Noguchi & S.-S. Jeng 1999. Toxins of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum Halim from the coastal waters and aquaculture ponds in southern Taiwan. Fish. Sci. 65: 171-172.
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Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Alexandrium minutum reproduces asexually by binary fission. This species also has a sexual cycle that produces a characteristic resting cyst (Fig. 6).

  • Bolch, C.J., S.I. Blackburn, J.A. Cannon & G.M. Hallegraeff 1991. The resting cyst of the red-tide dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae). Phycologia 30: 215-219.
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Physiology and Cell Biology

Physiology

Toxicity

Alexandrium minutum is a strong producer of PSP gonyautoxins (GTX): GTX1, GTX2, GTX3 and GTX4. These toxins can affect humans, other mammals, birds and possibly fish. This species is responsible for PSP events in Taiwan, South Australia, France and New Zealand.

  • Cannon, J. 1990. Development and dispersal of red tides in the Port River, South Australia. In: E. Graneli, B. Sundtrom, L. Edler & D. Anderson (eds.), Toxic Marine Phytoplankton, Elsevier, New York: 110-115.
  • Chang, F.H., L. Mackenzie, D. Till, D. Hannah & L. Rhodes 1995. The first toxic shellfish outbreaks and the associated phytoplankton blooms in early 1993 in New Zealand. In: P. Lassus, G. Arzul, E. Erard, P. Gentien & C. Marcaillou (eds.), Harmful Marine Algal Blooms, Lavoisier, Intercept Ltd: 145-150.
  • Hallegraeff, G.M. 1991. Aquaculturists Guide to Harmful Australian Microalgae. Fishing Industry Training Board of Tasmania/CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart, 111 pp.
  • Hallegraeff, G.M., D.A. Steffensen & R. Wetherbee 1988. Three estuarine Australian dinoflagellates that can produce paralytic shellfish poisons. J. Plank. Res. 10: 533-541.
  • Hwang, D.-F., Y.-H. Tsai, H.-J. Liao, K. Matsuoka, T. Noguchi & S.-S. Jeng 1999. Toxins of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum Halim from the coastal waters and aquaculture ponds in southern Taiwan. Fish. Sci. 65: 171-172.
  • Nezan, E., C. Belin, P. Lassus, G. Piclet & J.P. Berthome 1989. Alexandrium minutum: first PSP species occurrence in France. In: Fourth International Conference on Toxic Marine Phytoplankton: Abstracts, Lund, Sweden: 111.
  • Oshima, Y, M. Hirota, T. Yasumoto, G. Hallegraeff, S. Blackburn & D. Steffensen 1989. Production of paralytic shellfish toxins by the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum Halim from Australia. Nipp. Suis. Gakk. 55: 925.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Alexandrium minutum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Alexandrium minutum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Management

Toxicity

Alexandrium minutum is a causative agent of paralytic shellfish poisoning and produces gonyautoxin (GTX) 1-4.
  • Balech E (1989) Rediscription of Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae) type species of the genus Alexandrium. Phycologia 28: 206-211.
  • Balech E (1995) The genus Alexandrium Halim (Dinoflagellata). Sherkin Island Marine Station
  • G. Hansen, N. Daugbjerg & J.M. Franco (2003). Morphology, toxin composition and LSU rDNA phylogeny of Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae) from Denmark, with some morphological observations on other European strains. Harmful Algae 2: 317-335
  • Scholin CA, Anderson DA (1994) Identification of group- and strain-specific genetic markers for globally distributed Alexandrium (Dinophyceae). I. RFLP Analysis of SSU rRNA genes. Journal of Phycology 30:744-75.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© University of Liverpool

Source: Harmful Phytoplankton Project

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