Bum Soo Parka,b,*, Deana L. Erdnera, Hernando P. Bacosaa, Zhanfei Liua, Edward J. Buskeya
aMarine Science Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Port Aransas, TX 78373, USA
bMarine Ecosystem Research Center, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Busan 49111, South Korea
The association between phytoplankton blooms and oil spills is still controversial despite numerous studies. Surprisingly, to date, there have been no studies on the effect of bacterial communities (BCs) exposed to crude oil on phytoplankton growth, even though crude oil changes BCs, which can then affect phytoplankton growth and species composition. Co-culture with crude oil-exposed BCs significantly stimulated the growth of Prorocentrum texanum in the laboratory. To gain more direct evidence, oil-degrading bacteria from oil-contaminated sediment collected after the Texas City “Y” oil spill were isolated, and changes in dinoflagellate growth when co-cultured with single bacterial isolates was investigated. The oil-degrading bacterial isolates significantly stimulated the growth of dinoflagellates (axenic and xenic cultures) through releasing growth-promoting substances. This study provides new evidence for the potential role of oil-degrading bacteria in the formation of phytoplankton blooms after an oil spill.
Texas City “Y” oil spill; Prorocentrum blooms; Oil-degrading bacteria; Enhancing dinoflagellate growth; Association between harmful algal blooms and oil spills