Dynamics of picophytoplankton and presence of cyanobacteria Synechoccocus in coastal waters of Durrës Bay (Albania)

Laura Gjyli*1, Ariola Bacu2, Jerina Kolitari3, Silvana Gjyli4

1University “Aleksander Moisiu”, Durrës, Faculty of Professional Studies, Department of Medicine,

2University of Tirana, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Biotechnology,

3Agricultural University of Tirana,

4University of Tirana, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Chemistry.

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AbstractCyanobacteria belonging to species Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus are important components of the picophytoplankton community and present in all oceanic systems. It is reported that coastal aquatic environments are typically more highly productive and dynamic than open oceans, and their dynamics reflects the level of trophy and pollution in the specific areas. Marine water samples were collected monthly from June to October 2012 in one meter depth at sample stations of the Bay of Durrës Golem Beach (GB), Channel of Plepa (ChP), Hekurudha Beach (HB), Ex-Fuel Quay in Marine Durres Harbour (EFQ), Water Channel of Durres City (WChDC) and Currila Beach (CB). Environmental factors as total chlorophyll a, temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, percent oxygen saturation, turbidity, macronutrient (N and P) were measured to conclude on the level of trophy of the sampled area, and to explain the dynamics of picophytoplankton populations. The existence of Synechococcus was proved via the amplification of 16S-23S specific ribosomal DNA. Total phytoplankton and picophytoplankton DNA content were measured via spectrophotometry in order to understand the growth rate of the populations in the sampled area. The cyanobacteria Synechococcusinvestigated in all stations of Durres Bay, including in water bodies of (EFQ) and (CB), where a high level of heavy metals is present, was confirmed. This suggests that Synechococcus populations in these areas have developed mechanisms to combat heavy metal exposure. The correlation between phytoplankton DNA content and environmental factors was strong. Stations were categorized in hypertrophic level, which might be as a result of the excessive loads of nutrients in wastewaters discharged in Durrës’s Bay.

Keywords: picophytoplankton, PCR, Durres Bay, heavy metals, level of trophy, environmental factor

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