Modelling paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) transfer and accumulation in populations of two planktonic grazers


Spyrakos E, Frangópulos M, Barreiro A & Guisande C (2013) Modelling paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) transfer and accumulation in populations of two planktonic grazers. Harmful Algae, 26, pp. 60-70.

A model was developed in this paper in order to study and compare the paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) transfer and accumulation of two different potential PST vectors in the planktonic community, the heterotrophic dinoflagellate in its red form Noctiluca scintillans and the copepod Acartia clausi. Different factors that influence the toxin transfer such as toxin synthesis, grazing on toxic and non-toxic food and population size of PST producers and vectors were considered in the model. Moreover, a laboratory experiment was conducted in order to calculate the detoxification rates of Noctiluca fed on Alexandrium catenella. According to the model results, the two grazers showed a significant difference mainly in the timing of the PST accumulation. Noctiluca exhibited a rapid response to the grazing of Alexandrium with high initial toxin accumulation, followed by a reduction to zero concentration of toxins in a period of almost two days. In contrast, Acartia showed a considerable delay in comparison to Noctiluca to accumulate the same amount of toxin in the population. This delay is linked to the slower reproduction rates that characterize the copepod. The range of the initial values used for the sensitivity analysis of the model is representative of the coastal environment of a Galician ria (embayment located at the NW of Iberian Peninsula), where the two grazers and Alexandrium may co-exist. The model for Acartia showed less sensitivity to these key parameters probably due to the time delay in accumulation of significant amount of toxins. Both grazers showed a rapid (50 h) reduction of ingested toxin, suggesting inefficiency to transfer toxins through predation in the food web.

Paralytic shellfish toxin; Planktonic toxin vectors; Alexandrium; Noctiluca scintillans; Acartia clausi

Harmful Algae: Volume 26

Publication date30/06/2013
Publication date online31/05/2013
Date accepted by journal10/04/2013
PublisherElsevier BV