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Volume 36- Number 2 - 2001

Gymnodinium Brown Tide in the Magellanic Fjords, Southern Chile

Juan Carlos Uribe & Milena Ruiz


Instituto de la Patagonia, Universidad de Magallanes, P.O. Box 113-D, Punta Arenas, Chile




In April 1999, a brown tide was recorded in the Magellanic fjords, Southern Chile. The causative taxa were two unidentified morphs of Gymnodinium that resemble Gymnodinium mikimotoi Miyake et Kominami ex Oda. Although there were many reports from fishermen about water discolorations along the region, just two localities were sampled by scientific personnel: the oceanic entrance of Canal Abra (53°22’ S – 73° 25’ W) and Punta Carrera (53° 35’ S– 70° 55’ W), which is situated in the Strait of Magellan. After discolorations, Gymnodinium concentrations ranged between 3,000 to 43,000 cells L-1. The Gymnodinium bloom lasted for about three weeks in the fjords. Invertebrates (sea urchins, sea stars, snails, limpets, octopus) and fish were reported as dead, but no quantification was done.
This phenomenon took place some weeks after a bloom of Gymnodinium, recorded around Chiloé Island ( 42° 30 S - 73° 55' W). Neither species form part of the normal flora in the Southern chilean fjords and their blooming supports the idea of a large scale phytoplankton transport along South East Pacific coast.

Key words: Red Tides, HAB, marine mortalities




1Laboratorio de Zooplancton, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología,Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. A. P. 70-305, 04510 México, D. F. México
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