Sedimentary Records of Harmful Bloom-Producing Dinoflagellates from Alvarado Lagoon (Southwestern Gulf of Mexico)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Audrey Limoges1, Kenneth N Mertens2, Ana c ruiz-Fernandez3, Joan Albert Sánchez Cabeza3 and Anne de Vernal4, (1)GEOTOP-UQAM, Montreal, QC, Canada, (2)Ghent University, Research Unit of Paleontology, Ghent, Belgium, (3)Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, (4)University of Quebec at Montreal UQAM, Montreal, QC, Canada
Organic-walled dinoflagellate cyst assemblages were studied from a sediment core collected in Alvarado Lagoon (southwestern Gulf of Mexico) in order to evaluate their use as tracers of toxic algal blooms. The sedimentary record spans the last ~560 years (CE) and shows high abundances of Polysphaeridium zoharyi, the cyst of the dinoflagellate Pyrodinium bahamense, which is known to cause toxic blooms. Cyst fluxes in the sediment of the Alvarado lagoon suggest frequent blooms of Pyrodinium bahamense in the past hundreds of years. Moreover, the high concentrations of the cysts (~ 4000 cysts g-1) in the “modern” surface sediment reveal that the area is susceptible to be affected by future blooms, especially during seasons of heavy rain and wind, when cysts are resuspended in the water column. The dinoflagellate cyst bank in sediment deserves special attention as it may constitute a source for the export of cells in adjacent regions. The cyst of other harmful dinoflagellates have been recovered in the sediment. They notably include those of the benthic dinoflagellate Bysmatrum subsalsum, which is here reported for the first time.