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First record of a Trichodesmium erythraeum bloom in the Mediterranean Sea

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Trichodesmium erythraeum is a species of marine cyanobacteria that forms extensive blooms in tropical and subtropical areas, predominantly in the Indian and Pacific oceans. An extensive bloom of this species, identified by microscopic and molecular analysis, is recorded for the first time at latitude greater than 30°N in Lesvos Island, Aegean Sea, eastern Mediterranean. Analysis of climatological trends revealed that the September 2010 bloom followed an extended period of the highest sea surface temperature and lowest wind speed observed since 1955, leading to a shallow thermocline formation. These conditions are considered among the main prerequisites for T. erythraeum bloom development. Analysis of abiotic parameters showed that other important factors for Trichodesmium proliferations, such as iron availability, oligotrophic conditions, and salinity levels, typical for the eastern Mediterranean, were also favourable. These findings seem directly linked to climate change already reported for the Mediterranean Sea and provide further evidence of the “tropicalization” of the area. Expansion of Trichodesmium blooms to greater latitudes may have important regional and global implications potentially affecting the global nitrogen cycle, the biological carbon pump, productivity levels, and harmful algal bloom frequency.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Ocean Physics and Modeling Group, University of Athens, Department of Environmental Physics and Meteorology, University Campus, Phys-V, 15784 Athens, Greece. 2: Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, University of Thessaly, 384 46 Volos, Greece.

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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