Effects of temperature, salinity and their interaction on growth of the benthic dinoflagellate Ostreopsis cf. ovata (Dinophyceae) from Japanese coastal waters


  • Communicating editor: M. Hoppenrath.

To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Email: madachi@kochi-u.ac.jp


Benthic dinoflagellates of the genus Ostreopsis produce palytoxin (PTX)-like compounds. The worldwide distributed Ostreopsis ovata/O. cf. ovata is potentially responsible for outbreaks of human health problems around the coasts of tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions. The present study examined growth responses of an O. cf. ovata strain s0662 collected from coastal waters of Japan with 35 different combinations of temperature (15–35°C) and salinity (20–40) and discusses the bloom dynamics of the organism in Japanese coastal environments. The O. cf. ovata strain s0662 tolerated a wide range of temperature (17.5–35°C) and salinity (25–40). Results of a two-way ANOVA showed significant effects of temperature-salinity interaction on growth rates and biomass yields of the O. cf. ovata strain (F(24,70) > 127, P <0.001). The strain showed a maximal growth rate (1.03 divisions day−1) and biomass yield (240 relative fluorescence) at temperature 25°C and salinity 30. The high growth rates of over 1.0 division day−1 were obtained in conditions of temperature 25–30°C and salinity 30–35, which indicates that strain s0662 prefers high temperature and salinity conditions. The growth rates of O. cf. ovata under the optimal conditions were higher than those of other benthic toxic-dinoflagellates, Coolia monotis, Gambierdiscus toxicus, and Prorocentrum lima (Dinophyceae) previously reported. Taken together, we suggest that O. cf. ovata is able to grow faster than the other benthic dinoflagellates in waters of high temperature and salinity. The physiological feature probably confers an ecological advantage on O. cf. ovata in the bloom development during warmer seasons in Japan and may be responsible for outbreaks of PTX-like poisoning in the region especially during the warmer seasons.