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Ben Gharbia, H., Laabir, M., Ben Mhamed, A., Gueroun, S. K. M., Yahia, M. N. D., Nouri, H., et al. (2019). Occurrence of epibenthic dinoflagellates in relation to biotic substrates and to environmental factors in Southern Mediterranean (Bizerte Bay and Lagoon, Tunisia): An emphasis on the harmful Ostreopsis spp., Prorocentrum lima and Coolia monotis. Harmful Algae, 90, 101704.
Résumé: Harmful events associated with epibenthic dinoflagellates, have been reported more frequently over the last decades. Occurrence of potentially toxic benthic dinoflagellates, on the leaves of two magnoliophytes (Cymodocea nodosa and Zostera noltei) and thalli of the macroalgae (Ulva rigida), was monitored over one year (From May 2015 to April 2016) in the Bizerte Bay and Lagoon (North of Tunisia, Southern Mediterranean Sea). The investigated lagoon is known to be highly anthropized. This is the first report on the seasonal distribution of epibenthic dinoflagellates hosted by natural substrates, from two contrasted, adjacent coastal Mediterranean ecosystems. The environmental factors promoting the development of the harmful epibenthic dinoflagellates Ostreopsis spp., Prorocentrum lima and Coolia monotis were investigated. The highest cell densities were reached by Ostreopsis spp. (1.9 x 10(3) cells g(-1) FW, in October 2015), P. lima (1.6 x 10(3) cells g(-1) FW, in June 2015) and C. monotis (1.1 x 10(3) cells g(-1) FW, in May 2015). C. nodosa and Z. noltei were the most favorable host macrophytes for C. monotis (in station L2) and Ostreopsis spp. (in station L3), respectively. Positive correlations were recorded between Ostreopsis spp. and temperature. Densities of the epibenthic dinoflagellates varied according to the collection site, and a great disparity was observed between the Bay and the Lagoon. Maximum concentrations were recorded on C. nodosa leaves from the Bizerte Bay, while low epiphytic cell abundances were associated with macrophytes sampled from the Bizerte Lagoon. The observed differences in dinoflagellate abundances between the two ecosystems (Bay-Lagoon) seemed not related to the nutrients, but rather to the poor environmental conditions in the lagoon.