Are mussels and oysters capable of reducing the abundances of Picochlorum sp., responsible for a massive green algae bloom in Thau lagoon, France?

After an exceptional hydroclimatic year, a “massive green algae bloom”, dominated by the autotrophic picoeukaryote Picochlorum sp, was observed in 2018–2019 in the Thau lagoon. Oyster farmers informed decision-makers and scientists about an alarming halt to growth, loss of flesh weight and abnormal mortality in commercial size oysters, whereas mussel farmers observed no adverse effects. Two hypotheses were tested. First, Mediterranean mussels are capable of filtering Picochlorum spp. whereas Pacific and flat oysters are not. Second, picophytoplankton filtration rates vary with the size of the oyster, spats having greater ability than juveniles and commercial size oysters. A series of experiments was conducted in February 2019 using a series of beakers containing (i) three different types of solutions (1 L): water from the Thau lagoon containing Picochlorum at a rate of 45.2 million cells.L−1 (P) or diluted to 20.7 million cells. L−1 (D) and a solution of Isochrysis galbana containing 9.4 million cells. L−1; (ii) in the absence or presence of five types of bivalves: Pacific oysters of three different sizes (spat, juvenile and commercial size), flat oysters, and Mediterranean mussels of commercial size. Four separate water samples were taken during a 40-min incubation period to measure fluctuations in picophytoplankton and nanophytoplankton abundances using flow cytometry. Retention efficiency (%) was compared according to species and size. In contrast to Pacific and flat oysters, mussels with an average weight of 21.4 g, were able to drastically reduce the abundances of Picochlorum and depleted nearly one million Picochlorum cells per minute at 11.4 °C. These results suggest that the 1228 t of mussels that died in 2018 before the Picochlorum bloom could have helped limit the Picochlorum bloom if they had survived the heat and anoxia.



Crassostrea gigas, Ostrea edulis, Mytilus galloprovincialis, Filtration, Cytometry, Phytoplankton, Picoeukaryote, Picocyanobacteria

Full Text

Publisher's official version
113 Mo
Fig. 1. Dotplots of cytometric analysis of phytoplankton observed in A) Thau lagoon (P) and B) Isochrysis (I) samples. Population of cyanobacteria (CYAN), picophytoplankton (PEUK1, PEUK2) ...
-334 Ko
Four preliminary steps to determine abundances of bivalves, incubation duration and sampling time
-347 Ko
Author's final draft
531 Mo
How to cite
Richard Marion, Bec Beatrice, Bergeon Lauriane, Hébert Matthew, Mablouké Cécile, Lagarde Franck (2022). Are mussels and oysters capable of reducing the abundances of Picochlorum sp., responsible for a massive green algae bloom in Thau lagoon, France?. Journal Of Experimental Marine Biology And Ecology. 556. 151797 (11p.).,

Copy this text