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Overview

Brief Summary

Species Overview

Alexandrium tamarense is an armoured, marine, planktonic dinoflagellate. It is associated with toxic PSP blooms in cold water coastal regions.

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Alexandrium is one of those dinoflagellates you don't want to run into. This harmful alga poisons shellfish and fish that consume the plankton and can kill or paralyze animals as well as people that eat the (shell)fish. When it blossoms in large amounts, the seawater turns red or brown, causing a so-called red tide. However, not all red tides are necessarily Alexandrium or even harmful algae.
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Comprehensive Description

Cells are variable in size. The epitheca often has two shoulders, again varying in size. The hyptheca is trapezoidal in shape with sometimes irregular sides. The girdle is excavated. Sulcus morphology is variable, but a sulcal list is normally present. Po is wide and angular. 1? is very variable in width.
  • Tomas C ed. (1996) Identifying marine diatoms and dinoflagellates. pp 598. Academic Press Ltd. London
  • Dodge, JD. (1982) Marine dinoflagellates of the British Isles. Her Majesty's Stationary office. pp 303.
  • John, U., Fensome RA.,Medlin, LK. (2003) The Application of a Molecular Clock Based on Molecular Sequences and the
  • Fossil Record to Explain Biogeographic Distributions Within the Alexandrium tamarense ??Species Complex?? (Dinophyceae). Mol. Biol. Evol. 20(7):1015?1027
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Distribution

In the UK A. tamarense is found particularly around southern and Eastern coasts.
  • Tomas C ed. (1996) Identifying marine diatoms and dinoflagellates. pp 598. Academic Press Ltd. London
  • Dodge, JD. (1982) Marine dinoflagellates of the British Isles. Her Majesty's Stationary office. pp 303.
  • John, U., Fensome RA.,Medlin, LK. (2003) The Application of a Molecular Clock Based on Molecular Sequences and the
  • Fossil Record to Explain Biogeographic Distributions Within the Alexandrium tamarense ??Species Complex?? (Dinophyceae). Mol. Biol. Evol. 20(7):1015?1027
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Source: Harmful Phytoplankton Project

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Physical Description

Morphology

Morphology and Structure

A. tamarense is a photosynthetic species with a number of orange-brown chloroplasts. A lunar-shaped nucleus is situated ventrally just inside the cingulum (Fig. 1).

  • Fukuyo, Y. 1985. Morphology of Protogonyaulax tamarensis (Lebour) and Protogonyaulax catenella (Whedon & Kofoid) Taylor from Japanese coastal waters. Bull. Mar. Sci. 37: 533-534.
  • Larsen, J. & O. Moestrup 1989. Guide to Toxic and Potentially Toxic Marine Algae. The Fish Inspection Service, Ministry of Fisheries, Copenhagen. 61 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 A. tamarense is: Po, 4', 6'', 6c, 8s, 5''', 2''''. The apical pore complex (APC) is rectangular and narrows ventrally (Fig. 3). The apical pore plate (Po) houses a large fishhook shaped foramen and a small round aap (Figs. 3, 4). The first apical plate (1') is variable in shape: from a broad triangle to a narrow rectangle, and bears a small ventral pore (Figs. 3, 5). The 1' plate comes in direct contact with the Po (Fig. 3).

The epitheca and hypotheca are nearly equal in height (Figs. 1, 2, 5). The epitheca is broadly conical, while the hypotheca is roughly trapezoidal (Figs. 1, 2, 5). The posterior end is slightly indented resulting in two hypothecal lobes; the left lobe is slightly larger than the right (Figs. 1, 2). The deeply excavated cingulum is displaced in a descending fashion one time its width with narrow lists (Figs. 2, 5). The deep sulcus, with lists, widens posteriorly (Figs. 2, 5). The posterior attachment pore (pap), if present, is small and located in the right half of the posterior sulcal plate.

  • Balech, E. 1995. The Genus Alexandrium Halim (Dinoflagellata), Sherkin Island Marine Station, Ireland. 151 pp.
  • Fukuyo, Y., H. Takano, M. Chihara & K. Matsuoka 1990. Red Tide Organisms in Japan. An Illustrated Taxonomic Guide. Uchida Rokakuho, Co., Ltd., Tokyo. 407 pp.
  • Fukuyo, Y., K. Yoshida & H. Inoue 1985. Protogonyaulax in Japanese coastal waters. In: D.M. Anderson, A.W. White & D.G. Baden (eds.), Toxic Dinoflagellates, Elsevier, New York: 27-32.
  • Larsen, J. & O. Moestrup 1989. Guide to Toxic and Potentially Toxic Marine Algae. The Fish Inspection Service, Ministry of Fisheries, Copenhagen. 61 pp.
  • Lebour, M.V. 1925. The Dinoflagellates of Northern Seas. Marine Biol. Assoc. U.K., Plymouth. 250 pp.
  • 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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Taxonomic Description

Cells of A. tamarense are small to medium in size, nearly spherical, and slightly longer than wide (Fig. 1). The first apical plate bears a ventral pore (Figs. 3, 5). Cells are commonly found single or in pairs (Figs. 1-3), and less commonly in fours. Paired cells may contain an anterior attachment pore (aap) and a posterior attachment pore (pap)(Fig. 4). Thecal plates are smooth and thin (Fig. 3). The size and shape of this species is highly variable: cells range in size between 22-51 µm in length and 17-44 µm in transdiameter width.

  • Balech, E. 1995. The Genus Alexandrium Halim (Dinoflagellata), Sherkin Island Marine Station, Ireland. 151 pp.
  • Fukuyo, Y., H. Takano, M. Chihara & K. Matsuoka 1990. Red Tide Organisms in Japan. An Illustrated Taxonomic Guide. Uchida Rokakuho, Co., Ltd., Tokyo. 407 pp.
  • 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., C.J. Bolch, S.I. Blackburn & Y. Oshima 1991. Species of the toxigenic dinoflagellate genus Alexandrium in southeastern Australian waters. Bot. Mar. 34: 575-587.
  • Larsen, J. & O. Moestrup 1989. Guide to Toxic and Potentially Toxic Marine Algae. The Fish Inspection Service, Ministry of Fisheries, Copenhagen. 61 pp.
  • Lebour, M.V. 1925. The Dinoflagellates of Northern Seas. Marine Biol. Assoc. U.K., Plymouth. 250 pp.
  • 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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Look Alikes

Species Comparison

A. tamarense can resemble a number of other species within the genus, but it can be distinguished by its cell shape and size, presence of a ventral pore (vp) on the 1' plate, and shape of the thecal plates.

A. tamarense is very similar morphologically (size, shape and thecal plate formula) to A. catenella; both also produce deadly PSP toxins. Morphological differences lie in the shape of the Po, and presence or absence of a vp: the Po in A. catenella is slightly smaller than that in A. tamarense, and the vp is absent. Molecular testing conducted on A. catenella from Japan and A. tamarense from Japan and the U.S.A. revealed a close genetic relationship between the two species, however they remain distinct.

Morphologically, A. fundyense is nearly identical to A. tamarense except for the missing ventral pore on the 1' plate. A. minutum can also be misidentified as A. tamarense; however, A. tamarense is a smaller species, is always longer than wide, and is found in colder waters than A. minutum.

  • Adachi, M., Y. Sako, A. Uchida & Y. Ishida 1995. Ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer regions (ITS) define species of the genus Alexandrium. In: P. Lassus, G. Arzul, E. Erard, P. Gentien & C. Marcaillou (eds.), Harmful Marine Algal Blooms, Lavoisier, Intercept Ltd: 15-20.
  • Balech, E. 1995. The Genus Alexandrium Halim (Dinoflagellata), Sherkin Island Marine Station, Ireland. 151 pp.
  • Fukuyo, Y. 1985. Morphology of Protogonyaulax tamarensis (Lebour) and Protogonyaulax catenella (Whedon & Kofoid) Taylor from Japanese coastal waters. Bull. Mar. Sci. 37: 533-534.
  • Hallegraeff, G.M. 1991. Aquaculturists Guide to Harmful Australian Microalgae. Fishing Industry Training Board of Tasmania/CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart, 111 pp.
  • Larsen, J. & O. Moestrup 1989. Guide to Toxic and Potentially Toxic Marine Algae. The Fish Inspection Service, Ministry of Fisheries, Copenhagen. 61 pp.
  • 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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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Locality

A. tamarense is a widely distributed coastal and estuarine dinoflagellate species mainly found in cold to cold-temperate waters in North America, Europe and Japan. However, this species has been reported from warmer waters around the world: Australia, Venezuela and the Gulf of Thailand.

  • Balech, E. 1995. The Genus Alexandrium Halim (Dinoflagellata), Sherkin Island Marine Station, Ireland. 151 pp.
  • Fukuyo, Y., H. Takano, M. Chihara & K. Matsuoka 1990. Red Tide Organisms in Japan. An Illustrated Taxonomic Guide. Uchida Rokakuho, Co., Ltd., Tokyo. 407 pp.
  • Hallegraeff, G.M. 1991. Aquaculturists Guide to Harmful Australian Microalgae. Fishing Industry Training Board of Tasmania/CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart, 111 pp.
  • Lebour, M.V. 1925. The Dinoflagellates of Northern Seas. Marine Biol. Assoc. U.K., Plymouth. 250 pp.
  • 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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Depth range based on 241 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 88 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 175
  Temperature range (°C): -1.770 - 27.590
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.275 - 4.405
  Salinity (PPS): 26.680 - 38.971
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.600 - 8.712
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.071 - 1.153
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.927 - 14.986

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 175

Temperature range (°C): -1.770 - 27.590

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.275 - 4.405

Salinity (PPS): 26.680 - 38.971

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.600 - 8.712

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.071 - 1.153

Silicate (umol/l): 0.927 - 14.986
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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General Ecology

Ecology

A. tamarense is a planktonic dinoflagellate species associated with toxic paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) events around the world. Toxic blooms are commonly reported in Japan. Red tide blooms of A. tamarense have been reported in Europe, and are common along the NE coast of North America (New England and Canada). During a red tide event reported in the Faroe Islands, Norway, in 1984, population levels of A. tamarense were estimated at 1X 107 cells/L and completely dominated the plankton.

This species produces an ellipsoidal resting cyst that cannot be distinguished from the cyst produced by A. catenella. This cyst has rounded ends with a thick cell wall, and is covered in mucilage (Fig. 6). Cysts often contain colorless granules and distinct reddish lipid bodies. Size ranges from 36-56 µm in length and 23-32 µm in width.

  • Bicknell, W.J. & D.C. Walsh 1975. The first 'red tide' in recorded Massachusetts history: managing an acute and unexpectd public health emergency. In: V.R. LoCicero (ed.), Proc. First Int. Conf. Toxic Dinoflagellate Blooms, Massachusetts Sci. Tech. Found., Wakefield: 447-458.
  • Bolch, C.J. & G.M. Hallegraeff 1990. Dinoflagellate cysts in Recent marine sediments from Tasmania, Australia. Bot. Mar. 33: 173-192.
  • Fukuyo, Y. 1985. Morphology of Protogonyaulax tamarensis (Lebour) and Protogonyaulax catenella (Whedon & Kofoid) Taylor from Japanese coastal waters. Bull. Mar. Sci. 37: 533-534.
  • Fukuyo, Y., K. Yoshida & H. Inoue 1985. Protogonyaulax in Japanese coastal waters. In: D.M. Anderson, A.W. White & D.G. Baden (eds.), Toxic Dinoflagellates, Elsevier, New York: 27-32.
  • 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., C.J. Bolch, S.I. Blackburn & Y. Oshima 1991. Species of the toxigenic dinoflagellate genus Alexandrium in southeastern Australian waters. Bot. Mar. 34: 575-587.
  • Hurst, J.W., Jr. 1975. History of paralytic shellfish poisoning on the Maine coast 1958-1974. In: V.R. LoCicero (ed.), Proc. First Int. Conf. Toxic Dinoflagellate Blooms, Massachusetts Sci. Tech. Found., Wakefield: 525-528.
  • Loeblich, L.A. & A.R. Loeblich, III 1975. The organism causing New England red tides: Gonyaulax excavata. In: V.R. LoCicero (ed.), Proc. First Int. Conf. Toxic Dinoflagellate Blooms, Massachusetts Sci. Tech. Found., Wakefield: 207-224.
  • Moestrup, O. & P.J. Hansen 1988. On the occurrence of the potentially toxic dinoflagellates Alexandrium tamarense (= Gonyaulax excavata) and A. ostenfeldii in Danish and Faroese waters. Ophelia 28: 195-213.
  • Mortensen, A.M. 1985. Massive fish mortalities in the Faroe Islands caused by a Gonyaulax excavata red tide. In: Anderson, D.M., A.W. White & D.G. Baden (eds.), Toxic Dinoflagellates, Elsevier, New York: 165-170.
  • Ogata, T., M. Kodama, Y. Fukuyo, T. Inoue, H. Kamiya, F. Matsuura, K. Sekiguchi & S. Watanabe 1982. The occurrence of Protogonyaulax spp. in Ofunato Bay, in association with the toxification of the scallop Patinopecten yessoensis. Bull. Jap. Soc. Sci. Fish.48: 563-566.
  • Oshima, Y., T. Yasumoto, M. Kodama, T. Ogata, Y. Fukuyo & F. Matsuura 1982. Features of paralytic shellfish poison occurring in Tohoku District. Bull. Jap. Soc. Sci. Fish. 48: 525-530.
  • Turpin, D.H., P.E.R. Dobell & F.J.R. Taylor 1978. Sexuality and cyst formation in Pacific strains of the toxic dinoflagellate Gonyaulax tamarensis. J. Phycol. 14: 235-238.
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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

A. tamarense reproduces asexually by binary fission; plane of fission is oblique. This species also has a sexual cycle with anisogamous mating types. The gametes join laterally for sexual fusion, produce a planozygote which then encysts into a characteristic resting cyst (Fig. 6).

  • Loeblich, L.A. & A.R. Loeblich, III 1975. The organism causing New England red tides: Gonyaulax excavata. In: V.R. LoCicero (ed.), Proc. First Int. Conf. Toxic Dinoflagellate Blooms, Massachusetts Sci. Tech. Found., Wakefield: 207-224.
  • Silva, E.S. 1962. Some observations on marine dinoflagellate cultures. Not. E. Estud. Instit. Biol. Marit. 26: 1-26.
  • Turpin, D.H., P.E.R. Dobell & F.J.R. Taylor 1978. Sexuality and cyst formation in Pacific strains of the toxic dinoflagellate Gonyaulax tamarensis. J. Phycol. 14: 235-238.
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Physiology and Cell Biology

Physiology

Toxicity

Alexandrium tamarense is a known toxin-producing dinoflagellate species. This species produces very potent PSP neurotoxins which can affect humans, other mammals, fish and birds: gonyautoxins (GTX I, II, III, IV and V), neosaxitoxin (NSTX) and saxitoxin (SXT). This species is responsible for numerous human illnesses and several deaths after consumption of infected shellfish: ten deaths in Venezuela in 1977, and one death in Thailand in 1984. Resting cysts of A. tamarense can also harbor PSP toxins. Dale et al. (1978) demonstrated that cysts were more than ten times as toxic as their motile stage counterparts.

Not all strains of A. tamarense are toxic: both toxic and nontoxic strains have been reported in New England within the same red tide event. Strains in Australia, River Tamar estuary, Britain type locality and the Gulf of Thailand are all non-toxic.

The usual route of PSP toxin transmission is via contaminated shellfish; however, bloom events of A. tamarense have been linked to several massive fish kills: Atlantic herring in the Bay of Fundy, Canada; and rainbow trout and salmon in the Faroe Islands, Norway. Hayashi et al. (1982) attribute the fish kills to dinoflagellate toxins accumulated in the food chain; i.e. fish feed on zooplankton infected with PSP poisons and die. However, Ogata and Kodama (1986) report production of ichthyotoxins in cultured media of this species.

  • Fukuyo, Y., K. Yoshida & H. Inoue 1985. Protogonyaulax in Japanese coastal waters. In: D.M. Anderson, A.W. White & D.G. Baden (eds.), Toxic Dinoflagellates, Elsevier, New York: 27-32.
  • Hallegraeff, G.M. 1991. Aquaculturists Guide to Harmful Australian Microalgae. Fishing Industry Training Board of Tasmania/CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart, 111 pp.
  • Hayashi, T., Y. Shimizu & A.W. White 1982. Toxin profile of herbivorous zooplankton during a Gonyaulax bloom in the Bay of Fundy. Bull. Japan. Soc. Sci. Fish. 48: 1673.
  • Larsen, J. & O. Moestrup 1989. Guide to Toxic and Potentially Toxic Marine Algae. The Fish Inspection Service, Ministry of Fisheries, Copenhagen. 61 pp.
  • Moestrup, O. & P.J. Hansen 1988. On the occurrence of the potentially toxic dinoflagellates Alexandrium tamarense (= Gonyaulax excavata) and A. ostenfeldii in Danish and Faroese waters. Ophelia 28: 195-213.
  • Mortensen, A.M. 1985. Massive fish mortalities in the Faroe Islands caused by a Gonyaulax excavata red tide. In: Anderson, D.M., A.W. White & D.G. Baden (eds.), Toxic Dinoflagellates, Elsevier, New York: 165-170.
  • Ogata, T. & M. Kodama 1986. Ichthyotoxicity found in cultured media of Protogonyaulax spp. Mar. Biol. 92: 31-34.
  • Oshima, Y., L.J. Buckley, M. Alam & Y. Shimizu 1977. Heterogeneity of paralytic shellfish poisons. Three new toxins from cultured Gonyaulax tamarensis cells, Mya arenaria and Saxidomus giganteus. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 57C: 31-34.
  • Reyes-Vasquez, G., E. Ferraz-Reyes & E. Vasquez 1979. Toxic dinoflagellate blooms in northeastern Venezuela during 1977. In: D.L. Taylor & H.H. Seliger (eds.), Toxic Dinoflagellate Blooms, Elsevier/North-Holland, New York: 191-194.
  • Shimizu, Y., M. Alam, Y. Oshima & W.E. Fallon 1975. Presence of four toxins in red tide infested clams and cultured Gonyaulax tamarensis cells. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 66: 731-737.
  • Tamiyavanich, S., M. Kodama & Y. Fukuyo 1985. The occurrence of paralytic shellfish poisoning in Thailand. In: D.M. Anderson, A.W. White & D.G. Baden (eds.), Toxic Dinoflagellates, Elsevier, New York: 521-524.
  • Yentsch, C.M., B. Dale & J.W. Hurst 1978. Coexistence of toxic and nontoxic dinoflagellates resembling Gonyaulax tamarensis in New England coastal waters (NW Atlantic). J. Phycol. 14: 330.
  • White 1980
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Alexandrium tamarense

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


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Alexandrium tamarense

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

Management

Toxicity

According to Balech, 1995 typical A. tamarense cells are not toxin producers. However, others have suggested that at least some strains can produce PSP neurotoxins, GTX I, II, III, IV and V, neosaxitoxin and/or saxitoxin (Shimizu et al., 1975, Oshima et al., 1977, Larsen and Moestrup 1989)
  • Tomas C ed. (1996) Identifying marine diatoms and dinoflagellates. pp 598. Academic Press Ltd. London
  • Dodge, JD. (1982) Marine dinoflagellates of the British Isles. Her Majesty's Stationary office. pp 303.
  • John, U., Fensome RA.,Medlin, LK. (2003) The Application of a Molecular Clock Based on Molecular Sequences and the
  • Fossil Record to Explain Biogeographic Distributions Within the Alexandrium tamarense ??Species Complex?? (Dinophyceae). Mol. Biol. Evol. 20(7):1015?1027
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Wikipedia

Alexandrium tamarense

Alexandrium tamarense is a dinoflagellate known to produce saxitoxin, a neurotoxin which causes the human illness clinically known as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Multiple species of phytoplankton are known to produce saxitoxin, including at least 10 other species from the genus Alexandrium.

Recent molecular work shows that this species belongs to the Alexandrium tamarense complex (Atama complex, including A. tamarense, Alexandrium fundyense, Alexandrium catenella) and that none of the three original morphospecies designations forms monophyletic groups in the present SSU-based and previous LSU-based[1] phylogenetic trees, i.e. these species designations are invalid.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lilly, E. L.; Halanych, K. M.; Anderson, D. M. (2007). "Species boundaries and global biogeography of theAlexandrium tamarensecomplex (Dinophyceae)1". Journal of Phycology 43 (6): 1329. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8817.2007.00420.x.  edit
  2. ^ Miranda, L. N.; Zhuang, Y.; Zhang, H.; Lin, S. (2012). "Phylogenetic analysis guided by intragenomic SSU rDNA polymorphism refines classification of "Alexandrium tamarense" species complex". Harmful Algae 16: 35. doi:10.1016/j.hal.2012.01.002.  edit
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