Chesapeake & Coastal Bay Life 

algae_frontbook.jpgAlgae are actually the most well known of a group of organisms called phytoplankton. Algae can best be described as small or microscopic plants. These organisms are photosynthetic, meaning that they function as plants, producing their own food from sunlight. Phytoplankton are the basis of most aquatic food chains, and are one of the primary producers of the oxygen we breathe. There are several different types of phytoplankton living in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Choose from the following classifications:


Type1:Dinoflagellates
Scientific Name:Pfiesteria shumwayae
Fast Fact:Pfiesteria shumwayae is the 2nd known toxic Pfiesteria species has a complex life cycle with an array of flagellated, amoeboid, and cyst stages. Its life cycle and behavior are similar to those of Pfiesteria piscicida, except that it responds more strongly to nitrogen enrichment and less strongly to phosphorus enrichment than P. piscicida. This species is a heterotroph that can become mixitrophic with kleptochloroplasts. The 2nd toxic Pfiesteria species is distinguishable from P. piscicida both morphologically (plate structure) and genetically (18S ribosomal DNA sequence). Like P. piscicida, its toxicity is triggered by live fish, and subsequent toxicity varies depending on its history of access to live fish.

Excerpted from Glasgow, H.B., J.M. Burkholder, J. Springer and S. Morton. “ A second newly described toxic Pfiesteria species from estuaries of the mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S.. Abstract from the presentation on March 11, 2000 at the Southeastern Research Society Conference, Wilmington, NC.
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References:Bibliography (link to pdf)