Dense populations of the coccolithophore Pleurochrysis pseudoroscoffensis were found in surface films at several locations around the Salton Sea in February-August, 1999. An unidentified coccolithophorid was also found in low densities in earlier studies of the lake (1955-1956). To our knowledge, this is the first record of this widespread marine species in any lake. Samples taken from surface films typically contained high densities of one or two other phytoplankton species as well as high densities of the coccolithophore. Presence or absence of specific algal pigments was used to validate direct cell counts. In a preliminary screen using a brine shrimp lethality assay, samples showed moderate activity. Extracts were then submitted to a mouse bioassay, and no toxic activity was observed. These results indicate that blooms of P. pseudoroscoffensis are probably not toxic to vertebrates and do not contribute to the various mortality events of birds and fish that occur in the Salton Sea.
Additional publication details
Pleurochrysis pseudoroscoffensis (Prymnesiophyceae) blooms on the surface of the Salton Sea, California