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Phytoplankton functional groups and harmful algae species in anthropogenically impacted waters of the NW Mediterranean Sea

Author(s): Vila M, Masó M

Abstract

Phytoplankton assemblages were analysed by multivariate analysis techniques in highly modified waterbod-ies (harbours) of the northwestern Mediterranean Sea over an annual cycle. The phytoplankton functional groups that char-acterise these anthropogenically impacted waters were identified and related to HAB events. Four functional groups can bedistinguished from the analysis: (1) bloom-forming dinoflagellates, (2) winter diatoms, (3) summer-autumn diatoms, and (4)large dinoflagellates and elongated diatoms. The species that characterise these functional groups occurred at all samplingstations. Potentially harmful species are distributed through all the clusters. However,bloom-forming dinoflagellatesoccurparticularly in large harbours and during summer months. The results indicate that: (1) functional groups indicate where andwhen there is a high risk of blooms, but they cannot determine the risk of a toxic or fish-killing event; and (2) large harboursin tideless seas must be considered as areas with a high risk of high-biomass bloom occurrences.

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