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Driving factors behind the distribution of dinocyst composition and abundance in surface sediments in a western Mediterranean coastal lagoon: Report from a high resolution mapping study

Fertouna-Bellakhal, Mouna, Dhib, Amel, Béjaoui, Béchir, Turki, Souad, Aleya, Lotfi
Marine pollution bulletin 2014 v.84 no.1-2 pp. 347-362
Alexandrium catenella, ballast water, coastal water, environmental factors, sediments, seedbeds, species diversity, toxicity, water pollution
Species composition and abundance of dinocysts in relation to environmental factors were studied at 123 stations of surface sediment in Bizerte Lagoon. Forty-eight dinocyst types were identified, mainly dominated by Brigantidinium simplex, Votadinum spinosum, Alexandrium pseudogonyaulax, Alexandrium catenella, and Lingulodinum machaerophorum along with many round brown cysts and spiny round brown cysts. Cysts ranged from 1276 to 20126cystsg−1dry weight sediment. Significant differences in cyst distribution pattern were recorded among the zones, with a higher cyst abundance occurring in the lagoon’s inner areas. Redundancy analyses showed two distinct associations of dinocysts according to location and environmental variables. Ballast water discharges are potential introducers of non-indigenous species, especially harmful ones such as A. catenella and Polysphaeridium zoharyi, with currents playing a pivotal role in cyst distribution. Findings concerning harmful cyst species indicate potential seedbeds for initiation of future blooms and outbreaks of potentially toxic species in the lagoon.