Seasonal variations of phytoplankton assemblages in relation to environmental factors in Mediterranean coastal waters of Morocco, a focus on HABs species.

Harmful Algae
Benlahcen Rijal LebladMohamed Laabir


Studies on phytoplankton and in particular Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) species in southern Mediterranean waters are scarce. We performed from April 2008 to June 2009 weekly investigations on microphytoplankton community structure and abundance in two contrasted marine ecosystems located in the western Moroccan Mediterranean coast, M'diq Bay and Oued Laou Estuary. Simultaneously, we measured the main physico-chemical parameters. Globally, the two studied areas showed comparable values of the assessed abiotic environmental factors. Temperature and salinity followed seasonal variation with values ranging from 13.5 °C to 21.4 °C and 31 to 36.8, respectively. Average nutrient values in surface water ranged from 0.7 to 45.76 μM for dissolved inorganic nitrogen, 0.02-2.10 μM for PO4 and 0.23-17.46 μM for SiO4 in the study areas. A total of 92 taxa belonging to 8 taxonomic classes were found. The highest number of microphytoplankton abundance reached 1.2 × 106 cells L-1 with diatoms being the most abundant taxa. Factorial Discriminant Analysis (FDA) and Spearman correlation test showed a significant seasonal discrimination of dominant microphytoplankton species. These micro-organisms were associated with different environmental variabl...Continue Reading


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