[MARMAM] Multispecies mass mortality of marine fauna linked to a toxic dinoflagellate bloom

Measures, Lena Lena.Measures at dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Mon May 15 12:18:56 PDT 2017


Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce the following publication in PlosOne:

Starr, M., S. Lair, S. Michaud, M. Scarratt, M. Quilliam, D. Lefaivre, M. Robert, A. Wotherspoon, R. Michaud, N. Ménard, G. Sauvé, S. Lessard, P. Béland and L. Measures. 2017. Multispecies mass mortality of marine fauna linked to a toxic dinoflagellate bloom. PLOS ONE 12(5):e0176299.

Abstract
Following heavy precipitation, we observed an intense algal bloom in the St. Lawrence Estuary (SLE) that coincided with an unusually high mortality of several species of marine fish, birds and mammals, including species designated at risk. The algal species was identified as Alexandrium tamarense and was determined to contain a potent mixture of paralytic shellfish toxins (PST). Significant levels of PST were found in the liver and/or gastrointestinal contents of several carcasses tested as well as in live planktivorous fish, molluscs and plankton samples collected during the bloom. This provided strong evidence for the trophic transfer of PST resulting in mortalities of multiple wildlife species. This conclusion was strengthened by the sequence of mortalities, which followed the drift of the bloom along the coast of the St. Lawrence Estuary. No other cause of mortality was identified in the majority of animals examined at necropsy. Reports of marine fauna presenting signs of neurological dysfunction were also supportive of exposure to these neurotoxins. The event reported here represents the first well-documented case of multispecies mass mortality of marine fish, birds and mammals linked to a PST-producing algal bloom.

The publication may be downloaded at:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0176299



Dr. Lena N. Measures

Chercheure merité, Direction des sciences pélagiques et des écosystèmes
Pêches et Océans Canada/Governement du Canada
Lena.Measures at dfo-mpo.gc.ca<mailto:Lena.Measures at dfo-mpo.gc.ca>


Scientist Emeritus, Pelagic and Ecosystem Science Branch
Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Government of Canada
Lena.Measures at dfo-mpo.gc.ca<mailto:Lena.Measures at dfo-mpo.gc.ca>





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