Photo credit: Dr. Vera Trainer and Brian Bill, NOAA
Protoperidinium oceanicum are large dinoflagellates, that are 200-300µm long and 150um wide. They have long horns extruding from the top and bottom of the cell. Red, heart-shaped cysts form within the organism, which makes it perfect as the February phytoplankton of the month!
P. oceanicum are found in oceanic, costal, temperate, and tropical waters.
For more information see:
A Taxonomic Guide to Some Common Marine Phytoplankton, by Rita Horner (Biopress Ltd. 2002)
SoundToxins, a diverse partnership of Washington state shellfish and finfish growers, environmental learning centers, Native American tribes, and Puget Sound volunteers, is a monitoring program designed to provide early warning of harmful algal bloom events in order to minimize both human health risks and economic losses to Puget Sound fisheries.