Source:Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Blooms of the dinoflagellate Ostreopsis siamensis have been prevalent in the New Zealand marine environment since their discovery in the 1990s. The geographical range of O. siamensis has expanded since their identification in northern New Zealand through to the waters around Wellington. This species blooms in dense concentrations of mucous-forming cells which display as a thick biofilm on rocky reefs.
In addition to their dense grouping morphology O. siamensis is known to produce high concentrations of toxins. Over recent years, comparable toxin-producing algae have been suggested as the cause of coughing, rhinorrhoea, conjunctivitis and economic aquacultural impacts. Although there has been limited research beyond anecdotal observations, ecological implications, such as the decline in Evechinus chloroticus populations have also been proposed to have been the result of such blooms.
RIMU masters student research summary
MSc thesis, University of Auckland
Dynamics and ecological implications of Ostreopsis siamensis blooms in north eastern New Zealand.