Using HPLC pigment analysis to investigate phytoplankton taxonomy: The importance of knowing your species

Xabier Irigoyen*, Bettina Meyer, Roger Harris, Derek Harbour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Phytoplankton microscopic enumerations and HPLC analyses of their pigments were performed weekly for a complete year at a coastal station in the English Channel. The taxonomic composition of the phytoplankton community was assessed using the HPLC results combined with the mathematical tool CHEMTAX in two different ways. Firstly, without using the species level taxonomic information obtained at the microscopic level (blind analyses), and secondly by including the information from the microscopic taxonomic analysis (directed analyses). The results indicate that, due to the particular pigment composition of some species (for example, the dinoflagellate, Karenia mikimotoi and the haptophyte, Phaeocystis pouchetii), a blind analysis would result in very significant errors in the taxonomic determination of the bloom events at this station. Major blooms of Karenia mikimotoi and P. pouchetii were mistaken for blooms of diatoms on the basis of a blind HPLC-CHEMTAX analysis. Only with the information from the microscopic observations was it possible to obtain an accurate representation of the phytoplankton community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalHelgoland Marine Research
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004

Keywords

  • High performance liquid chromatography
  • Phytoplankton composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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