Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Diffusive and ship-mediated spread of dinoflagellates in the Baltic Sea with Prorocentrum minimum as a special case

Sari Pertola

Doctoral dissertation, June 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Finnish Institute of Marine Research.

In this thesis the role played by expansive and introduced species in the phytoplankton ecology of the Baltic Sea was investigated. The aims were threefold. First, the studies investigated the resting stages of dinoflagellates, which were transported into the Baltic Sea via shipping and were able to germinate under the ambient, nutrient-rich, brackish water conditions. The studies also estimated which factors favoured the occurrence and spread of P. minimum in the Baltic Sea and discussed the identification of this morphologically variable species. In addition, the classification of phytoplankton species recently observed in the Baltic Sea was discussed.

Incubation of sediments from four Finnish ports and 10 ships' ballast tanks revealed that the sediments act as sources of living dinoflagellates and other phytoplankton. Dinoflagellates germinated from all ports detected and from 90% of ballast tanks. The concentrations of cells germinating from ballast tank sediments were mostly low compared with the acceptable cell concentrations set by the International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments. However, the IMO allows such high concentrations of small cells in the discharged ballast water that the total number of cells in large ballast water tanks can be very high.

Prorocentrum minimum occurred in the Baltic Sea annually but with no obvious trend in the 10-year timespan from 1993 to 2002. The species occurred under wide ranges of temperatures and salinities and the abundance of the species was positively related especially to the presence of organic nitrogen and phosphorus. This indicated that the species was favoured by increased organic nutrient loading and runoff from land and rivers. The cell shape of P. minimum varied from triangular to oval-round, but morphological fine details indicated that only one morphospecies was present. P. minimum also is, according to present knowledge, the only potentially harmful phytoplankton species that has recently expanded widely into new areas of the Baltic Sea.

The title page of the publication

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© University of Helsinki 2006

Last updated 16.05.2006

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