Growth characteristics of the diatoms Pseudonitzschia pungens and P. fraudulenta exposed to ultraviolet radiation

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Interest in the biology of planktonic, chain-forming Pseudonitzschia species has grown recently after the discovery of toxin production in Pseudonitzschia pungens and related taxa, following the outbreak of shellfish toxicity in Canada in 1987. As part of a broader study on the effects of enhanced ultraviolet light on the growth of bloom-forming phytoplankton, we have examined the growth rates and production of the toxin domoic acid and two additional chemicals [bacillariolides I and II] by Pseudonitzschia pungens varieties and Pseudonitzschia fraudulenta from Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Growth of P. fraudulenta is significantly inhibited by enhanced UV, P. pungens var. pungens shows slight inhibition, and P. pungens var. multiseries is unaffected. Production of bacillariolides I and II by P. pungens var. multiseries is similar in enhanced and deleted UV light. Tolerance of UV light by P. pungens var. multiseries appears to be acquired, and persistent. If ambient UV light continues to increase as a result of global ozone depletion, one may expect UV-resistant taxa such as P. pungens var. multiseries to become more prominent in coastal phytoplankton communities. © 1993 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

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