Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Harmful Algae



First Page



Harmful algal blooms (HABs), varying in intensity and causative species, have historically occurred throughout the Chesapeake Bay, U.S.; however, phycotoxin data are sparse. The spatiotemporal distribution of phycotoxins was investigated using solid-phase adsorption toxin tracking (SPATT) across 12 shallow, nearshore sites within the lower Chesapeake Bay and Virginia's coastal bays over one year (2017-2018). Eight toxins, azaspiracid-1 (AZA1), azaspiracid-2 (AZA2), microcystin-LR (MC-LR), domoic acid (DA), okadaic acid (OA), dinophysistoxin-1 (DTX1), pectenotoxin-2 (PTX2), and goniodomin A (GDA) were detected in SPATT extracts. Temporally, phycotoxins were always present in the region, with at least one phycotoxin group (i.e., consisting of OA and DTX1) detected at every time point. Co-occurrence of phycotoxins was also common; two or more toxin groups were observed in 76% of the samples analyzed. Toxin maximums: 0.03 ng AZA2/g resin/day, 0.25 ng DA/g resin/day, 15 ng DTX1/g resin/day, 61 ng OA/g resin/day, 72 ng PTX2/g resin/day, and 102,050 ng GDA/g resin/day were seasonal, with peaks occurring in summer and fall. Spatially, the southern tributary and coastal bay regions harbored the highest amount of total phycotoxins on SPATT over the year, and the former contained the greatest diversity of phycotoxins. The novel detection of AZAs in the region, before a causative species has been identified, supports the use of SPATT as an explorative tool in respect to emerging threats. The lack of karlotoxin in SPATT extracts, but detection of Karlodinium veneficum by microscopy, however, emphasizes that this tool should be considered complementary to, but not a replacement for, more traditional HAB management and monitoring methods.


doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2021.101993


Okadaic acid, Pectenotoxin, Goniodomin A, Azaspiracid, Domoic acid, Microcystin