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Abundance and distribution of toxic Alexandrium tamarense resting cysts in the sediments of the Chukchi Sea and the eastern Bering Sea

Natsuike, Masafumi, Nagai, Satoshi, Matsuno, Kohei, Saito, Rui, Tsukazaki, Chiko, Yamaguchi, Atsushi, Imai, Ichiro
Harmful algae 2013 v.27 pp. 52-59
Alexandrium, continental shelf, ice, polymerase chain reaction, sediments, species identification, toxicity, vegetative cells, Arctic region, Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea
Abundance and distribution of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense species complex resting cyst were investigated in the eastern Bering Sea and the Chukchi Sea for the first time. Sediment samples (top 0–3cm depth) were collected from the continental shelf of the eastern Bering Sea (17 stations) and the Chukchi Sea (13 stations) together with a long core sample (top 0–21cm depth) from one station in the Chukchi Sea during 2009–2012. The cysts were enumerated using the primuline staining method. Species identification of the cysts was carried out with multiplex PCR assay and the plate morphology of vegetative cells germinated from cysts in the both areas. Alexandrium cysts were widely detected in the both areas, ranging from not detected (<1cystscm−3) to 835cystscm−3 wet sediment in the eastern Bering Sea and from not detected (<1cystscm−3) to 10,600cystscm−3 in the Chukchi Sea, and all isolated cysts were genetically and morphologically identified as the North American clade A. tamarense. Their cysts were mainly distributed in the shallow continental shelf where the water depth was less than 100m in both areas. The cysts were detected from the deep layer (18–21cm depth of sediment core) of the long core sample. The present study confirmed the abundant existence of A. tamarense with wide range of distribution in these areas. This fact suggests that A. tamarense vegetative cells have appeared in the water column in the both areas. Furthermore, these abundant cyst depositions indicate that this species originally distributed in the Arctic and subarctic regions and well adapted to the environments in the marginal ice zone.