Planktonic community structure during a harmful bloom of Phaeocystis globosa in a subtropical bay, with special reference to the ciliate assemblages
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Planktonic community structure was investigated during outbreak of harmful Phaeocystis globosa bloom in a subtropical bay, the Maowei Sea, South China Sea. The phytoplankton assemblage was numerically dominated by colonial P. globosa, with its abundance ranging from 1.23 × 108 to 11.12 × 108 cells m−3 and contributing nearly 90 % to the total abundance. Totally 66 mesozooplankton (>169 µm) and 19 ciliates species were recorded, with the densities ranged from 169 to 1633 ind m−3 and 74 to 1118 cells L−1, respectively. The dominant species for mesozooplankton were Copepoda (larvae), Bestiola sinicus, B. amoyensis, Macrura (larvae) and Acartia spinicauda, respectively. The ciliate assemblage was numerically dominated by Codonella rapa, Strombidium globosaneum and Mesodinium rubrum. During the bloom, P. globosa seemed to be negatively affected by the nutrient phosphate significantly (p < 0.05). However, no correlation between P. globosa and ciliate assemblage was detected, but P. globosa was negatively correlated with total biomass of mesozooplankton and abundance of B. sinicus (p < 0.05), suggesting that P. globosa was uncoupled from the grazing by both ciliates and mesozooplankton when appearing as colonies form. On the other hand, both positive and negative correlations among the dominant groups of mesozooplankton and ciliates were observed (p < 0.05) which possibly indicated that the predation of mesozooplankton upon ciliates might be strengthened during the Phaeocystis bloom and the complex effect also varied from species to species.
KeywordsPhaeocystis globosa Harmful algal bloom Ciliates Mesozooplankton
We thank Dr. Gang Li for his help in revision of the manuscript. This research was supported by the financial fund of the ministry of agriculture (NFZX2013), National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2015CB452903), Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201403008), Guangdong Natural Science Foundation (S2013040016424, 1015030101000002), Shantou Science and Technology Project (No. 99) and Open Project of the Key Laboratory of Marine Bio-resources and Ecology (LMB131004).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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