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Species- and stratification-dependent diel vertical migration behaviour of three dinoflagellate species in a laboratory study

  • Therese Jephson
  • Per Carlsson
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 1353-1362
Publication/Series: Journal of Plankton Research
Volume: 31
Issue: 11
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract english

This study shows that different species of the same genus can behave differently in relation to a salinity gradient and suggests that a halocline can act as a barrier to the diel vertical migration (DVM) of dinoflagellate species. In a laboratory study, we found that the dinoflagellates Ceratium furca, C. tripos and Dinophysis acuta did not cross a salinity gradient of 5 psu, but instead exhibited DVM exclusively below and above the halocline. Furthermore, C. tripos aggregated in the halocline during the night and migrated to the surface at midday, whereas C. furca aggregated in the halocline at midday and migrated downwards to the bottom during the dark period. Dinophysis acuta was found exclusively above the halocline, with the highest density in the surface water at midday. The present results suggest that different dinoflagellate species display unique DVM behaviours in stratified waters. The species-specific DVM strategies revealed in this study are of central importance for understanding the ecology of these taxa and to further elucidate both the ecological significance and the mechanisms of DVM.


  • Ecology


  • ISSN: 0142-7873
Per Carlsson
E-mail: per [dot] carlsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Division aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 84 35



Senior lecturer

Aquatic Ecology


Research group

Aquatic Ecology


Marine Pelagic Projects

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD student, main supervisor

Johanna Stedt