The influence of the toxin producing Dinoflagellate, Alexandrium catenella (1119/27), on the feeding and survival of the marine Copepod, Acartia tonsa

Abdulhussain, Ali H.; Cook, Kathryn B. ORCID:; Turner, Andrew D.; Lewis, Adam M.; Elsafi, Mohamed A.; Mayor, Daniel J. ORCID: 2020 The influence of the toxin producing Dinoflagellate, Alexandrium catenella (1119/27), on the feeding and survival of the marine Copepod, Acartia tonsa. Harmful Algae, 98, 101890.

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Blooms of harmful algae are increasing globally, yet their impacts on copepods, an important link between primary producers and higher trophic levels, remain largely unknown. Algal toxins may have direct, negative effects on the survival of copepods. They may also indirectly affect copepod survival by deterring feeding and thus decreasing the availability of energy and nutritional resources. Here we present a series of short-term (24 h) experiments in which the cosmopolitan marine copepod, Acartia tonsa, was exposed to a range of concentrations of the toxic dinoflagellate, Alexandrium catenella (strain 1119/27, formerly Alexandrium tamarense), with and without the presence of alternative, non-toxic prey (Rhodomonas sp.). We also present the toxin profile concentrations for A. catenella. The survival and feeding of A. tonsa were not affected across the range of concentrations recorded for A. catenella in the field; increased mortality of A. tonsa was only discernible when A. catenella was present at concentrations that exceed their reported environmental concentrations by two orders of magnitude. The observed lethal median concentration (LC50) for A. tonsa exposed to A. catenella was 12.45 ng STX eq L−1. We demonstrate that A. tonsa is capable of simultaneously ingesting both toxic and non-toxic algae, but increases clearance rates towards non-toxic prey as the proportional abundance of toxic A. catenella increases. The ability to actively select non-toxic algae whilst also ingesting toxic algae suggests that consumption of the latter does not cause physical incapacitation and thus does not affect ingestion in A. tonsa. This work shows that short-term exposure to toxic A. catenella is unlikely to elicit major effects on the grazing or survival of A. tonsa. However, more work is needed to understand the longer-term and sub-lethal effects of toxic algae on marine copepods.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 15689883
Date made live: 24 Nov 2020 11:57 +0 (UTC)

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