Lingulodinium polyedrum



Because it is photoautotrophic, it gets its nutrients through photosynthesis. However, Lingulodinium polyedrum serve as symboints known as zooxanthellae and provide organic carbon to their hosts, such as reef-making coral, sponges, clam, jellyfish, anemones, and squids.  They move throughout the water using small flagella, but can also cling to other plankton, sand, coral, and other aquatic plants.  However, they are widely known for their role in red tides.  This is caused by their high density on the water’s surface, density as high as several million per liter.  This causes the water to turn a gold or red color, and contains high toxicity levels.  This can be harmful to other sea life and their consumers, and can travel up the food chain quickly.  It is mostly known for effecting fish and shellfish that humans consume, which can lead to gastrointestinal illness, permanent neurological damage, or in worst cases death.  There are websites which help keep track of red tide locations to warn people where not to swim or net fish.



Click here to go back to the Home Page or hit Next to continue.