Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2008-21


Effects of the dinoflagellates Karlodinium veneficum and Prorocentrum minimum on early life history stages of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica).




Stoecker, DK; Adolf, JE; Place, AR; Glibert, PM; Meritt, DW


Marine Biology 154(1):81-90




The bloom-forming dinoflagellates Prorocentrum minimum and Karlodinium veneficum can have detrimental effects on some marine life, including shellfish, but little is known about their effects on early life history stages of bivalves. In the Chesapeake Bay region, blooms of these dinoflagellates overlap with the spawning season of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. In laboratory experiments, we compared the effects of P. minimum and K. veneficum on the survival and development of embryos and larvae of the eastern oyster. At 10(4) cells ml-1, P. minimum did not have a negative effect on embryos and larvae in 2-day exposures. The yield of D-hinge larvae was equal to or greater than in control treatments. At 2 x 10(4) cells ml-1(approximately equal biomass to the P. minimum treatment) K. veneficum caused significant mortality to oyster embryos within 1 day and almost no embryos developed into D-hinge larvae. This effect was not alleviated by the provision of an alternate food source (Isochrysis sp.). Significant mortality was observed when larvae were exposed to K. veneficum at concentrations of 10(4) cells ml-1 (approximately 5 ng ml-1 of karlotoxin). The K. veneficum cultures used in these experiments were relatively low in toxin content, more toxic strains could be expected to cause mortality at lower cell concentrations. Survival and maturation of embryos and larvae may be reduced when spawns of the eastern oyster coincide with high bloom densities of K. veneficum.

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