Effect of imbalanced nutrients and immigration on Prymnesium parvum community dominance and toxicity: results from in-lake microcosm experiments Academic Article uri icon


  • Prymnesium parvum, a haptophyte species, forms harmful blooms, including those that have caused severe fish kills in Texas, USA, over the past 6 yr. We studied P. parvum dynamics using in situ microcosm experiments at Lake Possum Kingdom, Texas, during 3 seasons (fall 2004, winter and spring 2005). Experimental treatments included full and partial nutrient enrichment (encompassing nitrogen [N] and phosphorus [P] deficient treatments), P. parvum immigration and combinations of these factors. In the control and N and P deficient treatments, P. parvum populations dominated the community, but only in the N deficient treatments did P. parvum experience a significant growth in the population. In contrast, when nutrients were not limiting, P. parvum tended to lose its competitive edge to other taxa such as chlorophytes, euglenophytes and diatoms, which then dominated the community. Population growth of P. parvum was also stimulated through immigration, but only during the winter experiment, a period of the year when bloom initiation is common. This finding suggests that movement into the water column may be an important process leading to P. parvum bloom initiation. Toxicity of P. parvum to fish was also affected by the nutrient changes: during conditions of no nutrient addition P. parvum was most toxic; intermediate toxicity was observed under N and P deficient conditions, and full nutrient enrichments resulted in nearly non-toxic conditions. Inter-Research 2008.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Errera, R. M., Roelke, D. L., Kiesling, R. L., Brooks, B. W., Grover, J. P., Schwierzke, L., ... Pinckney, J. L.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Errera, Reagan M||Roelke, Daniel L||Kiesling, Richard L||Brooks, Bryan W||Grover, James P||Schwierzke, Leslie||Urena-Boeck, Fabiola||Baker, Jason W||Pinckney, James L

publication date

  • January 2008