What factors explain harmful algal blooms of Dinophysis along the Texas coast?
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The toxic dinoflagellate Dinophysis ovum is one of the harmful algal species that bloom along the Texas coast. Blooms of D. ovum can be explained by several factors that work together to cause bloom initiation. This work utilized image counts collected by the Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB) at Port Aransas, TX and modeled winds from the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts. Based on a previous study of another dinoflagellate species, it was hypothesized that winds will be highly correlated with harmful algal bloom (HAB) years versus non-HAB years for D. ovum. Weak northerly winds and downwelling along the coast will be associated with HAB years, while strong northerly or southerly winds will be associated with non-HAB years. In non-HAB years, wind-driven currents caused by upcoast or strongly flowing downcoast winds will result in northward or southward movement of D. ovum cells, respectively. In HAB years, weaker downcoast winds will allow for accumulation of D. ovum at the coast. Results showed that weak downcoast winds occurred in the weeks preceding HAB events in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, and likely contributed to the accumulation of Dinophysis cells along the Texas coast. When winds moved upcoast or strongly downcoast in the weeks preceding bloom months, Dinophysis blooms did not occur. Additional factors (e.g., sea surface temperature, surface-based runoff, mean wave direction, El Niño Southern Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, and salinity) were analyzed to better define a favorable environment for bloom formation. Sea surface temperature and surface based runoff were significantly correlated with bloom occurrence, whereas El Niño Southern Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation were not.
Replogle, Lauren E (2016). What factors explain harmful algal blooms of Dinophysis along the Texas coast?. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from