Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Rachel Leigh Spiegel, Oxford College of Emory University

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

The Environmental Control of Toxicity in Prorocentrum minimum


P. minimum, a toxic dinoflagellate found in the Chesapeake Bay, was investigated to determine the degree that lipid composition could be changed with environmental conditions. P. minimum was cultured in CO2-limited conditions, CO2-replete conditions, high and low light, and in different concentrations of selenium, in two forms, Na2SeO3 and Na2SeO4. The CO2 cultures were obtained from Gary Wickfor's lab. He found that the CO2-limited culture caused mortality of scallops in 24 hours while the CO2-replete culture caused mortality in 4 days. Lipid composition in the CO2-limited cultures indicates no change in sterols other than the loss of phytol but does indicate a change in the fatty acid composition. In the selenium experiment, only the high light cultures were filtered for analysis as the low lights had not reached a high enough concentration. Preliminary results indicate that Se has an effect on growth rates of P. minimum. Lipid composition, including 18:5n3 levels, did change with Se concentration.