Three decades of data on phytoplankton and phycotoxins on the French coast: Lessons from REPHY and REPHYTOX

Type Article
Date 2021-02
Language English
Author(s) Belin CatherineORCID1, Soudant DominiqueORCID1, Amzil ZouherORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ifremer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), F-44311 Nantes Cedex 03, France
Source Harmful Algae (1568-9883) (Elsevier BV), 2021-02 , Vol. 102 , P. 101733 (12p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.hal.2019.101733
WOS© Times Cited 43
Keyword(s) Monitoring network, Phytoplankton time-series, Dominant species, DST-Diarrheic Shellfish Toxins, PST-Paralytic Shellfish Toxins, AST-Amnesic Shellfish Toxins

In France, REPHY (Observation and Surveillance Network for Phytoplankton and Hydrology in coastal waters) and REPHYTOX (Monitoring Network for Phycotoxins in marine organisms) have been contributing to long-term time series on ocean health for more than 30 years. The aim of this paper is to describe these networks and to highlight their key results. Over the last 20 years, phytoplankton flora analysis on French coasts from the Channel to Mediterranean has shown that the five “emblematic” taxa are Chaetoceros, Skeletonema, Cryptophyceae, Leptocylindrus and Pseudo-nitzschia. The latter, together with the taxa of interest Dinophysis + Phalacroma, Alexandrium, and Karenia, have been consistently recorded along the entire French coastline. However, when taking into account frequency of occurrence some taxa exhibit more distinct geographical distributions. In particular, the occurrence of Phaeocystis appeared to be strongly specific to the northern coasts of the Channel. French coasts have been regularly affected since the 1980s by the presence of toxins in bivalve molluscs, leading to bans on fishing and sale of shellfish during periods of varying duration. Three categories of toxins were involved. PST and AST were absent from the French coasts, respectively before 1988 and 2000. DST (Diarrheic Shellfish Toxins) have affected many areas along the whole coast every year since 1987. For PST (Paralytic Shellfish Toxins), only a few areas have been affected, sometimes sporadically, since 1988 in the Channel, 1993 in the Atlantic, and 1998 in the Mediterranean. Many areas have been impacted since 2000 by AST (Amnesic Shellfish Toxins) episodes, mainly affecting scallops in the Channel and on Atlantic coasts. The patterns of change of shellfish toxicity episodes showed no real trend in any province over the entire period 1987–2018.

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