Alexandrium tamarense is found primarily along coastal waters. They tend to be widely dispersed in cold water temperatures in North America, Europe, and Japan. Recent findings have actually shown evidence of Alexandrium tamarense in warm water temperatures; for instance, Australia, Venezuela, and the Gulf of Thailand (Balech 1995). We can also sometimes find variance in the locations in which we find Alexandrium tamarense. We can actually find traces of this species out in open waters because of currents. This is a major indicator as to why we find Alexandrium spreading to new regions (Anderson, 1997). These currents will circulate this tiny Dinoflagellate to more broad areas which isn't a good thing when this organism has parasitic tendencies.

La Jolla, California Red Tide
Wikipedia Commons: Alejandro Diaz

Depicted above is the coast of La Jolla, California. In this area you can see that Red Tide is present in the water. This picture just goes to show that we can find Alexandrium tamarense along costal areas of the United States. The picture below shows the coastal region of Modis, Texas where Red Tide has been detected.

Modis, Texas. Red Tide
Wikipedia Commons: NASA

One of the main reasons why Alexandrium tamarense is so prevalent in costal waters and why we find outbreaks of its toxin every year within the same regions is because this organism can form a cyst. When it transforms from a motile marine organism to a cyst it will embed itself in sediment along costal regions. It will remain living in the sediment of the rock until conditions become favorable again. For more information of the cystic stage of Alexandrium tamarense head over to Adaptations!


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