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Ocurrence of Ostreopsis in two temperate coastal bays (SW iberia): Insights from the plankton

Santos, Mariana, Oliveira, Paulo B., Moita, Maria Teresa, David, Helena, Caeiro, Maria Filomena, Zingone, Adriana, Amorim, Ana, Silva, Alexandra
Harmful algae 2019 v.86 pp. 20-36
algal blooms, autumn, coasts, environmental factors, models, monitoring, plankton, poisonous algae, satellites, summer, surface water temperature, wind, wind stress, Iberian Peninsula, Portugal
The benthic genus Ostreopsis contains toxic-bloom forming species and is an important cause of concern in warm-temperate and tropical waters. On the coast of Portugal, NE Atlantic, the occurrence of Ostreopsis cf. siamensis and Ostreopsis cf. ovata has been reported since 2008 and 2011, respectively. This work aims to understand the favorable conditions for high concentrations of Ostreopsis cells in the plankton at two sites, Lagos and Lisbon Bays, located in the South and West coast of Portugal, respectively. This study is based on weekly Ostreopsis abundance data in the plankton, from 2011 to 2017, daily satellite and in situ sea surface temperature (SST), and meteorological and sea state parameters, namely wind stress and significant wave height. The molecular identification of local Ostreopsis spp. is also presented. The maximum cell densities occur between late-summer and autumn. The distribution range of Ostreopsis cf. ovata is restricted to the South coast, while Ostreopsis cf. siamensis has a wider distribution range, being also present on the West coast. In the study period, there was only one occurrence of Ostreopsis spp., in Lagos Bay, with concentrations within the alert phase of monitoring. In Lagos Bay, high Ostreopsis spp. concentrations were related with positive SST anomalies. These high concentrations were often recorded after a period of almost 2-weeks to more than 4-weeks of low sea state (<0.6 m), followed by short time events of onshore wind and moderate waves (0.6–1 m). The former conditions are interpreted as favoring bloom development on the substrate and the latter as causing the re-suspension of Ostreopsis cells in the water column. In Lisbon Bay, O. cf. siamensis occurred in the plankton in few occasions and no clear relation could be established with the studied environmental variables. It is here hypothesized that the recent records of O. cf. siamensis in Lisbon Bay may correspond to an early colonization stage of an invasion process. Knowledge gained on Ostreopsis dynamics along the Portuguese coast can be used for both the improvement of benthic harmful algal blooms (BHABs) monitoring in the region and as a basis to design forecasting models.