Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8759
Title: Environmental dynamics of a red Noctiluca scintillans bloom in tropical coastal waters
Author: S. K. Baliarsingh, Aneesh A. Lotliker, M. L. Wells, Vera L. Trainer, Chandanlal Parida, Biraja K. Sahu, Suchismita Srnichandan, Subhashree Sahoo
Other Contributor: K. C. Sahu, Srinivasa Kumar
Publication Year: 2016
Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin

An intense bloom of red Noctiluca scintillans (NS) occurred off Rushikulya estuarine region along east coast of India, an important site for mass nesting events of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtle. At its peak, densities of NS were 3.3 x 105 cells-l-1, with low relative abundance of other phytoplankton. Ammonium concentrations increased in later stages of bloom as a result of leaching of intracellular ammonium  and nutrient regeneration. Dissolved oxygen concentrations decreased in sub-surface waters to near hypoxic levels. The peak bloom coincided with a high abundance of gelatinous planktivores, which may have facilitated bloom development by grazing on other zooplankton (particularly copepods). Large micro-phytoplankton increasingly dominated the chlorophyll-a biomass as the bloom declined, with diminishing picoplankton abundance likely the result of high predation by the ciliate Mesodinium rubrum. Together, these data illustrate factors that can disrupt ecosystem balance in this critically important Indian coastal region.

Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources