There are several stages to the Alexandrium life cycle: motile vegetative cells, haploid gametes, diploid zygotes, dormant cysts, and temporary cysts (not shown). Asexual reproduction through binary fission is most common (steps 2-3 in the life cycle). However, Alexandrium species can also undergo a sexual cycle. In sexual reproduction, motile mating types (gametes) fuse, which produces a motile diploid zygote (called a planozygote; steps 4-5). The planozygote will swim, then take the form of a dormant cyst and settle to seabed (steps 5-1). It will wait until environmental conditions are ideal before germinating (steps 1-2). There is also an endogenous (internal) annual clock that controls germination. So cysts can be a seeding population for a bloom of A. fundyense.
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