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Brevetoxin-Producing Spherical Cells Present in Karenia brevis Bloom: Evidence of Morphological Plasticity?

Department of Marine Sciences, University of South Alabama and Dauphin Island Sea Lab, 102 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Industrial Phycology, Unit 2 Axis, Hawkfield Business Park, Bristol BS14 0BY, UK.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse7020024
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Current Challenges in Marine Biotoxins Monitoring)
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Abstract

Spherical cells were detected in low salinity waters during a bloom of Karenia brevis in Alabama coastal waters. These balls resembled K. brevis in size and organelle appearance, contained similar concentration of brevetoxin, and occurred during ongoing K. brevis bloom. Based on the environmental conditions in which these cells were observed, we speculate that a rapid drop in salinity triggered the sphere formation in K. brevis. Brevetoxin concentrations were comparable between surface water samples containing typical and atypical cells ranging from 1 to 10 ng/mL brevetoxin-3 equivalents. Accurate identification and quantification of cell abundance in the water column is essential for routine monitoring of coastal waters, so misidentification of these spherical cells may result in significant underestimation of cell densities, and consequently, brevetoxin level. These potential discrepancies may negatively impact the quality of regulatory decisions and their impact on shellfish harvest area closures. We demonstrate that traditional monitoring based on microscopy alone is not sufficient for brevetoxin detection, and supporting toxin data is necessary to evaluate potential risk. View Full-Text
Keywords: Karenia brevis; morphology; plasticity; sphere-shape cell; salinity; cryptic species; regulatory monitoring; shellfish harvest area Karenia brevis; morphology; plasticity; sphere-shape cell; salinity; cryptic species; regulatory monitoring; shellfish harvest area
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Novoveská, L.; Robertson, A. Brevetoxin-Producing Spherical Cells Present in Karenia brevis Bloom: Evidence of Morphological Plasticity? J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7, 24.

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