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Water column bulk Pseudo-nitzschia abundance and the dissolved and particulate domoic acid (DA) concentrations were measured in the Santa Barbara Basin (SBB), California from 2009–2013 and compared to bulk Pseudo-nitzschia cell abundance and DA concentrations and fluxes in sediment traps moored at 147 m and 509 m. Pseudo-nitzschia abundance throughout the study period was spatially and temporally heterogeneous (L−1 to 3.8 × 106 cells L−1, avg. 2 × 105 ± 5 × 105 cells L−1) and did not correspond with upwelling conditions or the total DA (tDA) concentration, which was also spatially and temporally diverse (−1 to 2.2 × 105 ng L−1, avg. 7.8 × 103 ± 2.2 × 104 ng L−1). We hypothesize that the toxicity is likely driven in part by specific Pseudo-nitzschia species as well as bloom stage. Dissolved (dDA) and particulate (pDA) DA were significantly and positively correlated (p < 0.01) and both comprised major components of the total DA pool (pDA = 57 ± 35%, and dDA = 42 ± 35%) with substantial water column concentrations (>1000 cells L−1 and tDA = 200 ng L−1) measured as deep as 150 m. Our results highlight that dDA should not be ignored when examining bloom toxicity. Although water column abundance and pDA concentrations were poorly correlated with sediment trap Pseudo-nitzschia abundance and fluxes, DA toxicity is likely associated with senescent blooms that rapidly sink to the seafloor, adding another potential source of DA to benthic organisms.

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APA Citation

Umhau, B., Benitez-Nelson, C., Anderson, C., McCabe, K., & Burrell, C. (2018). A Time Series of Water Column Distributions and Sinking Particle Flux of Pseudo-Nitzschia and Domoic Acid in the Santa Barbara Basin, California. Toxins, 10(11), 480. doi: 10.3390/toxins10110480