Overview

Brief Summary

Species Overview

Alexandrium minutum is an armoured, marine, planktonic dinoflagellate. It is a widely distributed species associated with toxic PSP blooms in coastal regions.

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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Comprehensive Description

Alexandrium minutum cell shape can vary from hemispherical to conical. The cell is somewhat dorso-ventrally flattened. Differences in morphology particularly in the surface markings have been found between different isolates.
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© University of Liverpool

Source: Harmful Phytoplankton Project

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Physical Description

Morphology

Morphology and Structure

Alexandrium minutum is a photosynthetic species with an elliptical nucleus.

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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Thecal Plate Description

The plate formula for Alexandrium minutum is: Po, 4', 6'', 6c, 10s, 5''', 2''''. The epitheca is larger than the hypotheca (Figs. 1, 2). The apical pore complex (APC) is oval to broadly triangular and pointed posteriorly (Fig. 3). The apical pore plate (Po) is large, narrow and oval with a wide comma-shaped foramen (Figs. 3, 5). The Po can be either in direct contact with the first apical plate (1') (Figs. 3,5a) or indirectly connected via a thin suture (thread-like process) (Fig. 5b). A characteristic ventral pore is located on the slender and rhomboidal 1' plate (Figs. 2-4). The distinctive sixth precingular plate (6'') long and narrow (Fig. 1).

The epitheca is hemielliptical to conical with convex sides (Figs. 1, 2). The apex is broadly rounded. The short hypotheca is hemielliptical with a convex to flat antapex (Figs. 1, 2). The deeply excavated cingulum is displaced in a descending fashion one time its width with thickened margins (Figs. 1, 2). The sulcus is shallow with narrow lists (Figs. 1, 2).

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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Taxonomic Description

Cells of Alexandrium minutum are small, nearly spherical to ellipsoidal, somewhat dorsoventrally flattened and occassionally longer than wide (Figs. 1, 2). Cells are single with a characteristic ventral pore on the first apical plate, 1' (Figs. 1-4). Thecal plates thin. Thecal surface ornamenation can vary from light to heavy reticulation mostly confined to the hypotheca with small scattered pores. Intercalary bands are present (Figs. 1-3). Large range in size in this species: between 15-30 µm in length and 13-24 µm in transdiameter width.

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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Type Information

Type locality: Mediterranean Sea: Alexandra Harbour, Egypt
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Source: AlgaeBase

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Locality

Alexandrium minutum is widely distributed species found in many coastal areas of the world. Populations have been recorded from Alexandria Harbor, Egypt, Italy, northern Adriatic waters (Mediterranean Sea), Turkey, Spain and Portugal (as A. ibericum), France, South Australia, and the east coast of the United States.

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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Depth range based on 3044 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 723 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 90
  Temperature range (°C): -1.352 - 16.581
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.717 - 6.894
  Salinity (PPS): 33.551 - 38.049
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.272 - 8.654
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.209 - 0.630
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.585 - 6.301

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 90

Temperature range (°C): -1.352 - 16.581

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.717 - 6.894

Salinity (PPS): 33.551 - 38.049

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.272 - 8.654

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.209 - 0.630

Silicate (umol/l): 1.585 - 6.301
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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General Ecology

Ecology

Alexandrium minutum is a planktonic dinoflagellate species associated with toxic paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) events in coastal regions around the world. This species also produces dense (reddish-brown) red tides. A red tide of this species reported from Taiwan had cell densities of a high as 2.5 X 107 cells/L . Another red tide of Alexandrium minutum reported from South Australia revealed cell levels of 4.8 X 108 cells/L .

This species produces a clear resting cyst as part of its life cycle. Cysts vary from hemispherical to circular in shape: cyst circular in apical view 24-29 µm in diameter (Fig. 6); kidney-shaped in lateral view (15-19 µm long). The cyst wall is covered with mucilage.

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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Alexandrium minutum reproduces asexually by binary fission. This species also has a sexual cycle that produces a characteristic resting cyst (Fig. 6).

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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Physiology and Cell Biology

Physiology

Toxicity

Alexandrium minutum is a strong producer of PSP gonyautoxins (GTX): GTX1, GTX2, GTX3 and GTX4. These toxins can affect humans, other mammals, birds and possibly fish. This species is responsible for PSP events in Taiwan, South Australia, France and New Zealand.

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National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Alexandrium minutum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Alexandrium minutum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Management

Toxicity

Alexandrium minutum is a causative agent of paralytic shellfish poisoning and produces gonyautoxin (GTX) 1-4.
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© University of Liverpool

Source: Harmful Phytoplankton Project

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