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Limnology and Oceanography








The utility of photopigments and absorption signatures to detect and enumerate the red tide dinoflagellate, Gymnodinium breve, was evaluated in laboratory cultures and in natural assemblages. The carotenoid, gyroxanthindiester, was an adequate biomarker for G. breve biomass; water‐column concentrations corresponded with cell standing crops and chlorophyll a concentrations during bloom events in Sarasota Bay, Florida. Unlike other carotenoids, the relative abundance of gyroxanthin‐diester did not change throughout a range of physiological states in culture and the gyroxanthin‐diester: chlorophyll a ratio exhibited little variability in a natural assemblage during bloom senescence. Stepwise discriminant analysis indicated that wavelengths indicative of in vivo absorption by accessory chlorophylls and carotenoids could correctly discern spectra of the fucoxanthin‐containing G. breve from spectra of peridinin‐containing dinoflagellates, a diatom, a haptophyte, and a prasinophyte. With the use of a similarity algorithm, the increasing contribution of G. breve was discerned in absorption spectra (and corresponding fourth‐derivative plots) for hypothetical mixed assemblages. However, the absorption properties of chlorophyll c‐containing algae vary little among taxa and it is difficult to discern the contribution of accessory chlorophylls and carotenoids caused by cell packaging. Therefore, the use of absorption spectra alone may not identify the contribution of a chlorophyll c‐containing taxon to the composite spectrum of a mixed assemblage. This difficulty in distinguishing among spectra can be minimized by using the similarity algorithm in conjunction with fourth‐derivative analysis.


© 1997, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc. All rights researved.


© 1997, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc. All rights researved.

Original Publication Citation

Millie, D. F., Schofield, O. M., Kirkpatrick, G. J., Johnsen, G., Tester, P. A., & Vinyard, B. T. (1997). Detection of harmful algal blooms using photopigments and absorption signatures: A case study of the Florida red tide dinoflagellate, Gymnodinium breve. Limnology and Oceanography, 42(5), 1240-1251. doi:10.4319/lo.1997.42.5_part_2.1240


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