Spatio-temporal distribution of Prorocentrum lima in coastal waters of the gulf of Maine: A two-year survey

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The dinoflagellate Prorocentrum lima (Ehrenberg) Dodge was found at several sites along the coast of Maine in 1998 and 1999, some in areas where shellfish are harvested commercially. Identity was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Although this dinoflagellate is known to produce toxins (okadaic acid and derivative compounds), incidence of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning in coastal Maine is not well understood, despite confirmed toxicity events in the early 1990s in Nova Scotia, Canada in adjoining waters to the north. Some samples containing the dinoflagellate came from wild mussel populations collected at low tide, while others originated from aquaculture sites. Many of the cells were isolated from water samples and net tows and on a few occasions were associated with filamentous macroalgae. Prorocentrum lima appears to be relatively rare in Maine coastal waters, but its widespread distribution over several months warrants increased monitoring to allay public health concerns.

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Journal of Shellfish Research





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