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Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are becoming a more serious ecological threat to marine environments; they not only produce toxins, resulting in the death of marine organisms, but they also adversely affect biodiversity, which is an indicator of the health of an ecosystem. Thus, to mitigate HABs, numerous studies have been conducted to develop an effective algicide, but few studies have elucidated the effect of algicides on marine environmental health. In this study, thiazolidinedione derivative 49 (TD49), which has been developed as an algicide for the dinoflagellate Heterocapsa circularisquama, was used, and we investigated changes in phytoplankton biomass (abundance, chlorophyll a, and carbon biomass) and biodiversity (diversity, evenness, and richness) following the application of TD49. To gain deeper understanding, a large-scale mesocosm (1300 L) experiment containing control and treatment with four different concentrations (0.2, 0.4, 0.6 and 1 μM) was conducted for 10 days. Based on a previous study, TD49 shows algicidal activity against H. circularisquama depending on its concentration. The phytoplankton biomass in the TD49 treatments was generally lower than that in the control due to the algicidal effect of TD49 on H. circularisquama. The biodiversity indices (e.g., the Shannon-Weaver index) in the treatments were consistently higher than those in the control before depletion of nitrite + nitrate. Interestingly, the 0.6 μM TD49 treatment had higher biodiversity indices than the high-concentration treatment (1 μM), which appeared to show a better algicidal effect. These findings suggest that mitigation of H. circularisquama blooms with TD49 treatment may enhance phytoplankton biodiversity, but treatment with excessively high concentrations can lead to harmful effects. During the study period, regardless of the control and TD49 treatments, the total biomass of phytoplankton gradually decreased from the midpoint of the experiment to the end of the experiment. This was more likely caused by the depletion of nutrients than by the toxicity of TD49.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Environmental research
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