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Toxigenic Phytoplankton

pseudo nitzschia

Pseudo-nitzschia

alexandrium

Alexandrium


Many species of phytoplankton are capable of producing toxins. The photos at left are all of toxin-producing phytoplankton that can be found in the waters off of the U.S. west coast or in fresh water. Follow the links for more information.

A bloom of a toxin-producing phytoplankton can lead to a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB). HABs are blooms that cause harm to other organisms.

For photos of Harmful Algal Blooms and red tides, click here.

On this webpage, toxigenic phytoplankton are indicated by this symbol:

------------------------HAB

cochlodinium

Cochlodinium

dinophysis

Dinophysis

lingulodinium

Lingulodinium

gonyaulax

Gonyaulax

For more information on Harmful Algal Bloom research and monitoring in Monterey Bay, visit the Monterey Bay HAB Portal here.

For news of toxic events and HAB monitoring in California, visit www.habmap.info.

Toxins

A variety of toxins can be produced by phytoplankton and cyanobacteria. Some are hepatotoxins, which affect the liver, and otheres are neurotoxins, which affect the nervous system.

Hepatotoxins: cylindrospermopsin, microcystins, nodularins, yessotoxin
Neurotoxins: anatoxin-a, saxitoxins, domoic acid, azaspiracid, okadaic acid

Toxin Producers

Anatoxin-a: Cylindrospermopsis, Dolichospermum,Oscillatoria, Woronichinia
Azaspiracid: Protoperidinium
Brevetoxin: Karenia
Cylindrospermopsin: Cylindrospermopsis
Domoic acid: Pseudo-nitzschia
Microcystins: Microcystis, Oscillatoria, Planktothrix, Woronichinia
Nodularins: Nodularia
Okadaic acid: Dinophysis, Prorocentrum
Saxitoxin: Alexandrium, Aphanizomenon, Cylindrospermopsin, Gonyaulax, Gymnodinium
Yessotoxin: Gonyaulax, Lingulodinium, Protoceratium

prorocentrum

Prorocentrum

protoperidinium

Protoperidinium

protoceratium

Protoceratium

gymnodinium

Gymnodinium

h. akashiwo

H. akashiwo

karenia

Karenia

Freshwater

apha

Aphanizomenon

cylindrospermopsis

Cylindrospermopsis

Anabaena circ

Dolichospermum circinalis

anabaena

Dolichospermum flos-aquae

 

Anabaena unk

Dolichospermum unknown

microcystis

Microcystis

 

Nodularia

Nodularia

oscillatoria

Oscillatoria

planktothrix

Planktothrix

Woronichinia

placeWoronichiniah

   
This Phytoplankton Identification page is affiliated with CeNCOOS and HABMAP, and is maintained by the Kudela Lab at the University of California Santa Cruz. Details about site history, funding, and sources of information and images can be found here.