The distribution and life cycle of the dinoflagellate Spatulodinium pseudonoctiluca (Dinophyceae, Noctilucales) in the northeastern English Channel
The distribution of Spatulodinium (= Gymnodinium) pseudonoctiluca (Pouchet) J. Cachon & M. Cachon has been investigated for eight years (1998–2005) in the northeastern English Channel, type locality of the species and its immature stages. The species can be found after the spring diatom bloom from late May to October. The highest abundance was found in June 2004 after the Phaeocystis bloom. Exceptionally, the Phaeocystis bloom was absent in 2005 and only several specimens of S. pseudonoctiluca were observed. The immature and mature stages of Spatulodinium nearly always co-occurred. No other kofoidiniaceans such as Kofoidinium or Pomatodinium were observed. The first stages of the development of Spatulodinium can easily confuse with gymnodiniaceans. The transformation of the stage ‘D’, which has been described as Gymnodinium lebouriae (= G. fulgens) or Gymnodinium conicum (= G. viridis), into the mature stage, is illustrated. The stage ‘D’ originates from a cluster of pairs of smaller cells joined by an elongate episome. In the boreal Atlantic Ocean, Spatulodinium pseudonoctiluca, a single species whose life stages are often reported as separate species, is especially adapted to a strongly fluctuant environment.