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Growth stimulation of Alexandrium tamarense (dinophyceae) by humic substances from the Manicouagan River (Eastern Canada).

TitleGrowth stimulation of Alexandrium tamarense (dinophyceae) by humic substances from the Manicouagan River (Eastern Canada).
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsGagnon, R, Levasseur, M, Weise, AM, Fauchot, J, Campbell, PGC, Weissenboeck, BJ, Merzouk, A, Gosselin, M, Vigneault, B
JournalJournal of Phycology

In the St. Lawrence Estuary, annual recurrent blooms of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense L. Balech are associated with brackish waters. Riverine inputs are suspected to favor bloom development by increasing water column stability and/or by providing growth stimulants such as humic substances (HS). A 17-day culture experiment was conducted to evaluate the importance of HS as growth factors for A. tamarense. Nonaxenic cultures were exposed to four HS extracts from three different sources: humic and fulvic acids isolated from the Manicouagan River, Quebec, Canada; humic acids from the Suwannee River, Georgia, United States; and a desalted alkaline soil extract. For each extract, four concentrations were tested as supplements to the artificial Keller medium, a nitrate-rich algal culture medium. Additions of HS from all sources significantly enhanced the overall growth rates relative to the controls. Concentrations of HS, estimated by UV spectrophotometry, remained constant throughout the exponential growth phase, suggesting that the HS were acting mainly as growth promoters during our experiment. Dose2013response curves indicated that HS could increase the growth rate of A. tamarense even at low concentrations, such as those encountered in the St. Lawrence Estuary. Our results support the hypothesis that HS from the Manicouagan River plume can stimulate the development of toxic dinoflagellate blooms.