, Volume 83, Issue 3, pp 255-261

Mechanisms to initiate a Heterosigma akashiwo red tide in Osaka bay

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The ecological role of diel vertical migration of Heterosigma akashiwo Hada to initiate red tide was investigated in Tanigawa Fishing Port and Sano Harbor, Osaka Bay, Japan during red tide seasons in 1979 and 1980. This species migrated toward the surface early in the morning at a velocity of 1.0 to 1.3 m h-1. Downward migration was found in the afternoon, and more than 2.0×103 cells ml-1 aggregated in the bottom layer at night. The upward migration started before sunrise and downward shifting occurred prior to sunset. The movement is presumably associated with circadian rhythm, which is known as one of the biological periodicities. H. akashiwo crossed steep temperature and salinity gradients (6.5°C and 5.7‰ S) during the diel vertical migration. High values of particulate organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations were obtained in dialysis bags suspended in situ at identical layers with high cell concentration, while the values for surface and bottom bags were comparatively low. The results reveal that H. akashiwo migrates toward the sea surface to carry out photosynthesis effectively, and to the bottom to utilize nutrients efficiently.

Communicated by M. Anraku, Hiroshima