The toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium ostenfeldii is the only bioluminescent bloom-forming phytoplankton in coastal waters of the Baltic Sea and can be detected with GlowTracka. The presence of the lcf gene, which is responsible for bioluminescence, was consistent in 61 Baltic Sea strains isolated from six separate bloom sites. All Baltic Sea strains except one produced bioluminescence. In contrast, the presence of the lcf gene and the ability to produce bioluminescence did vary among strains from other parts of Europe. In phylogenetic analyses, lcf gene sequences of Baltic Sea strains clustered separately from North Sea strains, but variation between Baltic Sea strains was not sufficient to distinguish between bloom populations.
The lcf gene and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences clustered similarly, indicating that these two genes are evolving at a similar rate. This suggests that the lcf gene may be a useful marker for tracking the evolution of Alexandrium ostenfeldii blooms in the Baltic Sea.
Detect Alexandrium ostenfeldii with Glowtracka
Chelsea Technologies’ GlowTracka detects bioluminescence from dinoflagellates and similar organisms. Originally developed by Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK, GlowTracka’s precision flow meter stimulates bioluminescent organisms and measures the light flashes as the organisms pass the detector, giving photon level sensitivity.
GlowTracka is highly flexible in its deployment options, including moorings, profiling (with pumped system) or deployment in towed vehicles.