Ormond, Australia
Ormond, Australia

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Farrell H.,Sydney Institute of Marine science | Farrell H.,University of New South Wales | Brett S.,Microalgal Services | Ajani P.,Macquarie University | And 2 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2013

Blooms of Alexandrium species, in particular the species Alexandrium catenella, accounted for more than 50% of algal related, shellfish aquaculture harvest zone closures in New South Wales (NSW) Australia since 2005. While there are indications that species of Alexandrium are more abundant than they were formerly, there is little data available on the spatial and temporal distribution and abundance of the genus in NSW. A six and a half year dataset comprising a total of 8649 fortnightly samples from 31 estuaries spread over 2000. km of NSW coastline was analysed. The greatest abundances of Alexandrium spp. were observed during the austral Spring and Summer, in estuaries in the mid and southern latitudes of the state. In identifying these high risk zones, we propose variables such as season, temperature, rainfall and estuarine flushing to be targeted in intensive site specific studies, to support the development of predictive tools for resource managers. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Kohli G.S.,University of New South Wales | Kohli G.S.,University of Technology, Sydney | Murray S.A.,University of Technology, Sydney | Murray S.A.,Sydney Institute of Marine science | And 8 more authors.
Harmful Algae | Year: 2014

Species of the genus Gambierdiscus are epiphytic dinoflagellates well known from tropical coral reef areas at water temperatures from 24 to 29°C. Gambierdiscus spp. are able to produce ciguatoxins (CTXs) known to bioaccumulate in fish, and the ingestion of tropical fish that accumulated CTXs and possibly also maitotoxins (MTXs) can cause ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in humans. In Australia, ciguatera poisonings have been reported in tropical parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory. Here, we report for the first time the seasonal abundance (April-May 2012/13) of Gambierdiscus spp. (up to 6565-8255cellsg-1 wet weight algae) from Merimbula and Wagonga Inlets in temperate southern New South Wales, Australia (37°S) at water temperatures of 16.5-17°C. These are popular shellfish aquaculture and recreational fisheries areas with no reports of ciguatera poisoning. Sequencing of a region of the 28S rRNA gene led to the conclusive identification of Gambierdiscus carpenteri. The cells differed however from the Belize type description, including the absence of a thecal groove, dorsal rostrum and variable hatchet- to rectangular-shaped 2' plate, and were morphologically more similar to Gambierdiscus toxicus. To study the dinoflagellate community structure in detail, a pyrosequencing approach based on the 18S rRNA gene was applied, which confirmed the presence of a single Gambierdiscus species only. Neither CTXs nor MTXs were detected in natural bloom material by LC-MS/MS; however, the extracts were found to be toxic via mouse-bioassay, with symptoms suggestive of poisoning by MTX-like compounds. Understanding the abundance of Gambierdiscus populations in areas with no apparent human health impacts is important towards defining the alternate conditions where sparse populations can create ciguatera problems. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Ajani P.,Macquarie University | Ajani P.,Sydney Institute of Marine science | Murray S.,Sydney Institute of Marine science | Murray S.,University of Technology, Sydney | And 3 more authors.
Phycological Research | Year: 2013

Pseudo-nitzschiaH. Peragallo is a marine diatom genus found worldwide in polar, temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. It includes toxigenic representatives that produce domoic acid (DA), a neurotoxin responsible for Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. In this study we characterized two species of Pseudo-nitzschia collected from Port Stephens and the Hawkesbury River (south eastern Australia) previously unreported from Australian waters. Clonal isolates were sub-sampled for (i) light and transmission electron microscopy; (ii) DNA sequencing, based on the nuclear-encoded partial large subunit ribosomal RNA gene and internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-ITS1, 5.8S and ITS2 rDNA regions and, (iii) DA production as measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Morphological and molecular data unambiguously revealed the species to be Pseudo-nitzschia microporaPriisholm, Moestrup & Lundholm (Port Stephens) and Pseudo-nitzschia hasleanaLundholm (Hawkesbury River). This is the first report of the occurrence of these species from the Southern Hemisphere and the first report of P. micropora in warm-temperate waters. Cultures of P. micropora, tested for DA production for the first time, proved to be non-toxic. Similarly, no detectable toxin concentrations were observed for P. hasleana. Species resolution and knowledge on the toxicity of local Pseudo-nitzschia species has important implications for harmful algal bloom monitoring and management. © 2013 Japanese Society of Phycology.


Ajani P.,Macquarie University | Ajani P.,Sydney Institute of Marine Science | Murray S.,Sydney Institute of Marine Science | Murray S.,University of Technology, Sydney | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Phycology | Year: 2013

Species belonging to the potentially harmful diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia, isolated from 16 localities (31 sampling events) in the coastal waters of south-eastern Australia, were examined. Clonal isolates were characterized by (i) light and transmission electron microscopy; (ii) phylogenies, based on sequencing of nuclear-encoded ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) regions and, (iii) domoic acid (DA) production as measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Ten taxa were unequivocally confirmed as Pseudo-nitzschia americana, P. arenysensis, P. calliantha, P. cuspidata, P. fraudulenta, P. hasleana, P. micropora, P. multiseries, P. multistriata, and P. pungens. An updated taxonomic key for south-eastern Australian Pseudo-nitzschia is presented. The occurrence of two toxigenic species, P. multistriata (maximum concentration 11 pg DA per cell) and P. cuspidata (25.4 pg DA per cell), was documented for the first time in Australia. The Australian strains of P. multiseries, a consistent producer of DA in strains throughout the world, were nontoxic. Data from 5,888 water samples, collected from 31 oyster-growing estuaries (2,000 km coastline) from 2005 to 2009, revealed 310 regulatory exceedances for "Total Pseudo-nitzschia," resulting in six toxic episodes. Further examination of high-risk estuaries revealed that the "P. seriata group" had highest cell densities in the austral summer, autumn, or spring (species dependent), and lowest cell densities in the austral winter, while the "P. delicatissima group" had highest in winter and spring. © 2013 Phycological Society of America.


Murray S.A.,Sydney Institute of Marine science | Murray S.A.,University of New South Wales | Wiese M.,Sydney Institute of Marine science | Wiese M.,University of New South Wales | And 5 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2011

The recent identification of genes involved in the production of the potent neurotoxin and keystone metabolite saxitoxin (STX) in marine eukaryotic phytoplankton has allowed us for the first time to develop molecular genetic methods to investigate the chemical ecology of harmful algal blooms in situ. We present a novel method for detecting and quantifying the potential for STX production in marine environmental samples. Our assay detects a domain of the gene sxtA that encodes a unique enzyme putatively involved in the sxt pathway in marine dinoflagellates, sxtA4. A product of the correct size was recovered from nine strains of four species of STX-producing Alexandrium and Gymnodinium catenatum and was not detected in the non-STX-producing Alexandrium species, other dinoflagellate cultures, or an environmental sample that did not contain known STX-producing species. However, sxtA4 was also detected in the non-STX-producing strain of Alexandrium tamarense, Tasmanian ribotype. We investigated the copy number of sxtA4 in three strains of Alexandrium catenella and found it to be relatively constant among strains. Using our novel method, we detected and quantified sxtA4 in three environmental blooms of Alexandrium catenella that led to STX uptake in oysters. We conclude that this method shows promise as an accurate, fast, and cost-effective means of quantifying the potential for STX production in marine samples and will be useful for biological oceanographic research and harmful algal bloom monitoring. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.


Murray S.A.,Sydney Institute of Marine science | Murray S.A.,University of New South Wales | Wiese M.,Sydney Institute of Marine science | Wiese M.,University of New South Wales | And 5 more authors.
Harmful Algae | Year: 2012

The three Alexandrium species A. tamarense, A. fundyense and A. catenella include strains that can be potent producers of the neurotoxin saxitoxin (STX) and its analogues, the causative agents of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). These three species are morphologically highly similar, differing from each other only in the possession of a ventral pore, or in the ability to form chains. The appropriateness of these morphological characters for species delimitation has been extensively debated. A distinctive clade of this species complex, Group V, Tasmanian clade, is found in southern Australia, and occasionally occurs in bloom proportions. This clade has been considered non-toxic, and no PSP toxins have been found in shellfish following blooms of this species. In the present study, we report on a Tasmanian strain of A. tamarense, Group V that produces STX and possesses the gene, sxtA that is putatively involved in STX production. The toxin profile was determined and is unusual, including a high proportion of GTX5 and a small amount of STX, and differs from that of co-occurring A. catenella (Group IV). A putative bloom of A. tamarense that occurred in October 2010, and the subsequent finding of STX in Sydney Rock Oysters (. Saccostrea glomerata), may suggest that some naturally occurring strains of this species could produce STX. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | University of Technology, Sydney, Microalgal Services and Environment and Human Services
Type: | Journal: Marine pollution bulletin | Year: 2016

Sixteen years (1997-2013) of physicochemical, nutrient and phytoplankton biomass (Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a)) data and a decade (2003-2013) of phytoplankton composition and abundance data were analyzed to assess how the algal community in a temperate southeastern Australian estuary has responded to decreased chronic point source nitrogen loading following effluent treatment upgrade works in 2003. Nitrogen concentrations were significantly lower (P<0.05) following enhanced effluent treatment and Chl-a levels decreased (P<0.05) during the warmer months. Temperature and nutrient concentrations significantly influenced temporal changes of Chl-a (explaining 55% of variability), while salinity, temperature, pH and nutrient concentrations influenced phytoplankton abundance and composition (25% explained). Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) dynamics differed between sites likely influenced by physical attributes of the estuary. This study demonstrates that enhanced effluent treatment can significantly decrease chronic point source nitrogen loading and that Chl-a concentrations can be lowered during the warmer months when the risk of blooms and HABs is greatest.


PubMed | Center for Applied Science, University of Technology, Sydney, Macquarie University, James Cook University and 14 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific data | Year: 2016

There have been many individual phytoplankton datasets collected across Australia since the mid 1900s, but most are unavailable to the research community. We have searched archives, contacted researchers, and scanned the primary and grey literature to collate 3,621,847 records of marine phytoplankton species from Australian waters from 1844 to the present. Many of these are small datasets collected for local questions, but combined they provide over 170 years of data on phytoplankton communities in Australian waters. Units and taxonomy have been standardised, obviously erroneous data removed, and all metadata included. We have lodged this dataset with the Australian Ocean Data Network (http://portal.aodn.org.au/) allowing public access. The Australian Phytoplankton Database will be invaluable for global change studies, as it allows analysis of ecological indicators of climate change and eutrophication (e.g., changes in distribution; diatom:dinoflagellate ratios). In addition, the standardised conversion of abundance records to biomass provides modellers with quantifiable data to initialise and validate ecosystem models of lower marine trophic levels.


Ajani P.,Macquarie University | Brett S.,Microalgal Services | Krogh M.,Waters and Coastal Science Section | Scanes P.,Waters and Coastal Science Section | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2013

The spatial and temporal variability of potentially harmful phytoplankton was examined in the oyster-growing estuaries of New South Wales. Forty-five taxa from 31 estuaries were identified from 2005 to 2009. Harmful species richness was latitudinally graded for rivers, with increasing number of taxa southward. There were significant differences (within an estuary) in harmful species abundance and richness for 11 of 21 estuaries tested. Where differences were observed, these were predominately due to species belonging to the Pseudo-nitzschia delicatissima group, Dinophysis acuminata, Dictyocha octonaria and Prorocentrum cordatum with a consistent upstream versus downstream pattern emerging. Temporal (seasonal or interannual) patterns in harmful phytoplankton within and among estuaries were highly variable. Examination of harmful phytoplankton in relation to recognised estuary disturbance measures revealed species abundance correlated to estuary modification levels and flushing time, with modified, slow flushing estuaries having higher abundance. Harmful species richness correlated with bioregion, estuary modification levels and estuary class, with southern, unmodified lakes demonstrating greater species density. Predicting how these risk taxa and risk zones may change with further estuary disturbance and projected climate warming will require more focused, smaller scale studies aimed at a deeper understanding of species-specific ecology and bloom mechanisms. Coupled with this consideration, there is an imperative for further taxonomic, ecological and toxicological investigations into poorly understood taxa (e.g. Pseudo-nitzschia). © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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