An unprecedented bloom of Lingulodinium polyedra on the French Atlantic coast during summer 2021

At the end of July 2021, a bloom of Lingulodinium polyedra developed along the French Atlantic coast and lasted six weeks. The REPHY monitoring network and the citizen participation project PHENOMER contributed to its observation. A maximum concentration of 3,600,000 cells/L was reached on the 6th of September, a level never recorded on French coastlines. Satellite observation confirmed that the bloom reached its highest abundance and spatial extension early September, covering about 3200 km2 on the 4th of September. Cultures were established, and morphology and ITS-LSU sequencing identified the species as L. polyedra. The thecae displayed the characteristic tabulation and sometimes a ventral pore. The pigment composition of the bloom was similar to that of cultured L. polyedra, confirming that phytoplankton biomass was dominated by this species. The bloom was preceded by Leptocylindrus sp., developed over Lepidodinium chlorophorum, and was succeeded by elevated Noctiluca scintillans concentrations. Afterwards, relatively high abundance of Alexandrium tamarense were observed in the embayment where the bloom started. Unusually high precipitation during mid-July increased river discharges from the Loire and Vilaine rivers, which likely fueled phytoplankton growth by providing nutrients. Water masses with high numbers of dinoflagellates were characterized by high sea surface temperature and thermohaline stratification. The wind was low during the bloom development, before drifting it offshore. Cysts were observed in the plankton towards the end of the bloom, with concentrations up to 30,000 cysts/L and relative abundances up to 99%. The bloom deposited a seed bank, with cyst concentrations up to 100,000 cysts/g dried sediment, particularly in fine-grained sediments. The bloom caused hypoxia events, and concentrations of yessotoxins up to 747 μg/kg were recorded in mussels, below the safety threshold of 3,750 μg/kg. Oysters, clams and cockles also were contaminated with yessotoxins, but at lower concentrations. The established cultures did not produce yessotoxins at detectable levels, although yessotoxins were detected in the sediment. The unusual environmental summertime conditions that triggered the bloom, as well as the establishment of considerable seed banks, provide important findings to understand future harmful algal blooms along the French coastline.


Seed bank, Yessotoxins, Vilaine Bay, Southern Brittany, Harmful algal blooms

Full Text

Author's final draft
641 Mo
Supplementary materials
-18 Ko
Publisher's official version
1925 Mo
How to cite
Mertens Kenneth, Retho Michael, Manach Soazig, Zoffoli Maria Laura, Doner Anne, Schapira Mathilde, Bilien Gwenael, Séchet Veronique, Lacour Thomas, Robert Elise, Duval Audrey, Terre Terrillon Aouregan, Derrien Amelie, Gernez Pierre (2023). An unprecedented bloom of Lingulodinium polyedra on the French Atlantic coast during summer 2021. Harmful Algae. 125. 102426 (19p.).,

Copy this text