Fluctuations of the genus Dinophysis, which contained several toxic species of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP), were investigated during blooms in Hiroshima Bay, Mutsu Bay and Ise Bay, Japan. The co-occurrences of small phytoplanktons (cryptophytes, other nanophytoplanktons, cyanobacteria and eukaryotic picophytoplanktons) were investigated to search for relationships with mixotrophic Dinophysis. Cryptophytes were divided into three size-groups based on length of their chloroplasts (>10, 5-10 and <5 μm) during counting by epifluorescence microscopy. Clear relationships were not found between the occurrences of Dinophysis spp. and nanophytoplanktons, cyanobacteria and eukaryotic picophytoplanktons. However, the fluctuations of small-sized cryptophytes (<5 μm) showed a close relationship with that of D. acuminata in Hiroshima Bay. In Mutsu Bay, small-sized cryptophytes also accompanied the first occurrence peak of Dinophysis spp. In Ise Bay, peaks of the occurrences of middle- and small-sized cryptophytes were observed 2-3 weeks before the peak of D. acuminata. These cryptophytes decreased rapidly with increase in D. acuminata. These results suggest the possibility that small-sized cryptophytes may be food organisms for mixotrophic Dinophysis, with the abundance of Dinophysis dependent on these cryptophytes.
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