||We studied the relationships between sediment industrial pollutants concentrations, sediment characteristics and the dinoflagellate cyst abundance within a coastal lagoon by investigating a total of 55 sampling stations within the Bizerte lagoon, a highly anthropized Mediterranean ecosystem. The sediment of Bizerte lagoon is characterized by a high dinocyst abundance, reaching a maximum value of 2742 cysts.g(-1) of dry sediment. The investigated cyst diversity was characterized by the presence of 22 dominant dinocyst morphotypes belonging to 11 genera. Two dinoflagellate species dominated the assemblage: Alexandrium pseudogonyaulax and Protoperidinium claudicans, representing 29 to 89% and 5 to 38% of the total cyst abundance, respectively, depending on the station. Seven morphotypes belonging to potentially toxic species were detected, including Alexandrium minutum, A. pseudogonyaulax, Alexandrium catenella/tamarense species complex, Lingulodinium polyedrum, Gonyaulax cf. spinifera complex, Prorocentrum micans and Protoceratium reticulatum. Pearson correlation values showed a positive correlation (alpha = 0.05) between cyst abundance and both water content and fine silt sediment content. Clustering revealed that the highest abundance of cysts corresponds to stations presenting the higher amounts of heavy metals. The simultaneous autoregressive model (SAM) highlighted a significant correlation (alpha = 0.05) between cyst accumulation and two main factors: sediment water content and sediment content for several heavy metals, including Hg, Cd, Cu, Ni and Cr. These results suggest that the degree of heavy metal pollution could influence cyst accumulation patterns. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.