Noctiluca scintillans

Classification
General Dinoflagellate
Description
Shape Kidney or balloon-shaped
Size Width 200 - 2000 μm
Colour None (clear)
Connection None (solitary)
Covering None Close

Athecate

(dinoflagellates) Describes a cell without a theca, i.e., without cellulose walls (Hoppenrath and Saldarriaga 2010).

(athecate
)
Close

Flagellum

(plural: flagella) A tail-like projection that sticks out from the cell body and enables movement.

Flagella
One Close

Transverse flagellum

In dinoflagellates, one of the two flagella they possess; responsible for the rotation of the cell around its length axis. The two flagella are directed parallel to one another and together, the rotational components result in a helical swimming path (Fenchel 2001).

transverse
Close

Chloroplast

An organelle in the cell that contains the cell pigments (Horner 2002). This is where photosynthesis occurs. A chloroplast is a specialized chromatophore.

Chloroplast
None
Behaviour
Lifestyle Close

Heterotroph/heterotrophic

An organism that cannot convert inorganic carbon into a usable energy source. Instead, it consumes other organisms to obtain organic carbon for growth.

Heterotrophic
, Close

Phagotrophic

Describing an organism that feeds by engulfing its food items. Once surrounded, a food particle is then ingested inside a vacuole. Many flagellates are phagotrophs.

phagotrophic
. Sexual/asexual
Close

Bloom

A rapid increase or accumulation of algal populations in an aquatic system. This will likely involve one or a few dominant phytoplankton species. This follows seasonal patterns (i.e., spring, summer or fall bloom) with dominant species being those that are best adapted to the environmental conditions of that time period. Discolouration of the water may be observed because of the algae's pigmentation. Blooms are often green but may be yellow-brown or red depending on the species present.

Bloom
Bioluminescent, forms red tides
Harmful effects Produces toxic levels of ammonium
Distribution
Habitat Coastal
Geographic Close

Cosmopolitan

Widely distributed; occurring in many parts in the world.

Cosmopolitan
in cold to waters
Seasonal Spring to summer
Growth Conditions
Close

Salinity

The dissolved ion content of a body of water. Can be measured in the following units: parts per thousand (PPT or ‰), practical salinity units (PSU), and absolute salinity (g/kg). PPT is measured by weight, denoting the number of parts salt per thousand total parts or a value of 10-3. PSU measures the conductivity of saltwater and compares it in a ratio to a standard KCl solution (because this is a ratio, salinity measured in this way can also be written without units). The newest unit of salinity is absolute salinity, which uses the mass fraction of salt in seawater (g salt per kg seawater) rather than its conductivity (TEOS-20 2010).

Salinity
17 - 35
Temperature > 5 °C

Synonym(s)


Medusa marina Slabber 1771
Medusa scintillans Macartney 1810
Noctiluca miliaris Suriray 1816
Mammaria scintillans Ehrenberg 1834
Noctiluca marina Ehrenberg 1834
(Kraberg et al. 2010)

Classification


Empire Eukaryota
Kingdom Protozoa
Subkingdom Biciliata
Infrakingdom Alveolata
Phylum Myzozoa
Subphylum Dinoflagellata
Class Dinophyceae
Subclass
Order Noctilucales
Family Noctilucaceae
Genus Noctiluca
Species N. scintillans (Macartney) Kofoid and Swezy 1921

(Guiry and Guiry 2012)

Lifestyle


Noctiluca scintillans is an athecate heterotrophic dinoflagellate that feeds by phagotrophy (Kraberg et al. 2010). It reproduces sexually by formation of Close

Isogamy

The simplest type of sexual reproduction between gametes that are similar in size and shape. Instead of being classified as male and female cells, organisms of different mating types (i.e., different size and shape of gamete) can fuse to form a zygote (Botany Dictionary 2002).

isogametes
and asexually through Close

Binary fission

A form of asexual reproduction where one cell divides into two identical cells. All prokaryotes and some eukaryotes reproduce in this manner. Compare with mitosis, where the nucleus must also divide, adding an extra step to the process.

binary fission
(Kraberg et al. 2010).

Description


Noctiluca scintillans is a very large, kidney or balloon-shaped cell. The cell's Close

Epicone

In naked dinoflagellates, the anterior part of a dinokont cell above the cingulum. The equivalent of an epitheca for thecate dinoflagellates.

epicone
and Close

Hypocone

In naked dinoflagellates, the posterior part of a dinokont cell above the cingulum. The equivalent of a hypotheca for thecate dinoflagellates.

hypocone
are not differentiated (Kraberg et al. 2010). It has only one transverse flagellum and one striated tentacle (Horner 2002). It does not Close

Photosynthesis

The chemical process by which light energy, water and carbon dioxide are combined to produce oxygen and organic compounds. Photoautotrophic organisms (plants and algae) use this reaction to produce their own food.

photosynthesize
, so it does not have chloroplasts. It has a phagotrophic food Close

Vacuole

A membrane-bound organelle found in some protists, containing a water solution of organic and inorganic molecules (including enzymes). In some cases, vacuoles may contain engulfed solids (Falkowski et al. 2004).

vacuole
that often contains prey organisms, such as diatoms and ciliates (Horner 2002). The vegetative cells are Close

Discoid

Disc-shaped.

diploid
with gymnodinioid Close

Gamete

A reproductive cell (sperm or ovum) that can combine with another reproductive cell to create a new individual.

gametes
(Horner 2002, Kraberg et al. 2010).

Measurements


Diameter: 200 - 2000 μm

Similar species


None.

Harmful effects


Blooms are believed to produce high concentrations of ammonium, which may be toxic to fish (Horner 2002). Blooms have also been associated with mortality events in many marine invertebrates (Smithsonian 2012). Although, it does not produce toxins, it is registered as a harmful algal species Close

Harmful Algae Bloom

(HAB) The rapid growth and/or accumulation of algae in areas of constricted flow which may be harmful to the environment, animals, plants or humans by depleting oxygen, obstructing sunlight, and (in some cases) releasing toxins (Heisler et al. 2008).

(HAB
) because of its ability to produce toxic concentrations of ammonium, deplete oxygen levels in the water and clog other organisms' gills (Escalera et al. 2007).

Habitat


Noctiluca scintillans is a coastal species (Smithsonian 2012).

Distribution


Geographic:
It is distributed worldwide in cold to warm coastal waters (Horner 2002).
Seasonal:
Large blooms are commonly seen from spring to early summer in Helgoland off northern Germany (Smithsonian 2012). A small peak abundance was also observed in Helgoland from December to January (Uhlig and Sahling 1990).

Growth conditions


Uhlig and Sahling (1990) discovered that in the summer, when Helgoland receives 24 hours of daylight, cells are damaged and their growth is inhibited. Cell reproduction starts in the spring when water temperatures are above 5 °C (Uhlig and Sahling 1990).

Environmental Ranges


Depth range (m): 0 - 172
Temperature range (°C): 8.413 - 24.625
Nitrate (μmol L-1): 0.044 - 8.908
Salinity: 17.095 - 35.840
Oxygen (mL L-1): 0.516 - 6.874
Phosphate (μmol L-1): 0.128 - 1.682
Close

Silicic acid

A general term to describe chemical compounds containing silicon, oxygen and hydrogen with a general formula of [SiOx(OH)4-2x]n. Diatoms polymerize silicic acid into biogenic silica to form their frustules (Azam and Chisholm 1976).

Silicate
(μmol L-1): 0.648 - 77.938
(EOL 2012)

Bloom characteristics


Blooms are bioluminescent and colour the water bright red (Smithsonian 2012). Higher temperatures in summer encourage cell growth, but permanent light inhibits cell growth. N. scintillans blooms in the spring as water temperature increases, but the bloom crashes in late July as days get longer (Uhlig and Sahling 1990).

References


Encylopedia of Life (EOL). 2012. Noctiluca scintillans (Macartney) Kofoid and Swezy 1921. http://eol.org/pages/901153/details. Accessed 29 Feb 2012.

Escalera, L., Pazos, Y., Moroño, A. and Reguera, B. 2007. Noctiluca scintillans may act as a vector of toxigenic microalgae. Harmful Algae. 6(3): 317-320.

Guiry, M. D. and Guiry, G. M. 2012. Noctiluca scintillans (Macartney) Kofoid and Swezy 1921. http://www.algaebase.org/search/species/detail/?species_id=55371. Accessed 29 Feb 2012.

Horner, R. A. 2002. A Taxonomic Guide To Some Common Phytoplankton. Biopress Limited, Dorset Press, Dorchester, UK. 200.

Kraberg, A., Baumann, M. and Durselen, C. D. 2010. Coastal Phytoplankton Photo Guide for Northern European Seas. Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, Munchen, Germany. 203.

Smithsonian Institution. 2012. Noctiluca scintillans (Macartney) Kofoid and Swezy 1921. http://botany.si.edu/references/dinoflag/Taxa/Nscintillans.htm. Accessed 29 Feb 2012.

Uhlig, G. and Sahling, G. 1990. Long-term studies on Noctiluca scintillans in the German Bight population dynamics and red tide phenomena 1968-1988. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. 25(1-2): 101-112.


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