2018 journal article
Chattonella subsalsa (Raphidophyceae) growth and hemolytic activity in response to agriculturally-derived estuarine contaminants
HARMFUL ALGAE, 76, 66–79.
The potential for toxic contaminants and nutrient pollution to alter natural cycles of estuarine phytoplankton blooms is well known, yet few studies have examined how these combined stressors affect harmful algal species. Here, a robust testing protocol was developed to enable an ecotoxicological assessment of responses to commonly co-occurring estuarine contaminants by harmful algal bloom species. The population growth and toxicity (as cell density and hemolytic activity, respectively) of a cultured strain of the toxigenic raphidiophycean, Chattonella subsalsa, were assessed in two experiments (duration 10 days and 28 days) across a gradient of atrazine concentrations and N:P ratios simulating nutrient-rich versus nutrient-depleted regimes. The response of this large-celled, slowly growing alga to atrazine × nutrients depended on growth phase; atrazine was most inhibitory during early exponential population growth (day 10), whereas nutrient regime was a more important influence during later phases of growth (day 28). Without atrazine, toxicity toward fish was highest in low-P cultures. At atrazine levels >25 μg L-1, hemolytic activity was highest in low-N cultures, and increased with increasing atrazine concentration in all nutrient-limited cultures. Hemolytic activity varied inversely with atrazine concentration in N,P-replete conditions. Overall, atrazine inhibitory effects on population growth of this C. subsalsa strain depended on the growth phase and the nutrient regime; hemolytic activity was higher and further enhanced by atrazine in low N-P regimes; and atrazine inhibited hemolytic activity in nutrient-replete conditions. The data suggest that, depending on the growth phase and nutrient regime, atrazine can help promote toxic C. subsalsa blooms.