Domoic acid and pseudo-nitzschia spp. Connected to coastal upwelling along coastal inhambane province, mozambique: A new area of concern

Holly Kelchner, Katie E. Reeve-Arnold, Kathryn M. Schreiner, Sibel Bargu, Kim G. Roques, Reagan M. Errera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasing globally in frequency, persistence, and geo-graphic extent, posing a threat to ecosystem and human health. To date, no occurrences of marine phycotoxins have been recorded in Mozambique, which may be due to absence of a monitoring program and general awareness of potential threats. This study is the first documentation of neurotoxin, domoic acid (DA), produced by the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia along the east coast of Africa. Coastal Inhambane Province is a biodiversity hotspot where year-round Rhincodon typus (whale shark) sightings are among the highest globally and support an emerging ecotourism industry. Links between primary productivity and biodiversity in this area have not previously been considered or reported. During a pilot study, from January 2017 to April 2018, DA was identified year-round, peaking during Austral winter. During an intense study between May and August 2018, our research focused on identifying environmental factors influencing coastal productivity and DA concentration. Phytoplankton assemblage was diatom-dominated, with high abundances of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. Data suggest the system was influenced by nutrient pulses resulting from coastal upwelling. Continued and comprehensive monitoring along southern Mozambique would provide critical information to assess ecosystem and human health threats from marine toxins under challenges posed by global change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number903
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: Funding for this project was provided by the Louisiana State University AgCenter. A sincere thanks to Peri Peri Divers and staff for their collaboration and help collecting data for this project. This project would not have been possible without the support of All Out Africa Marine Research staff and volunteers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Biodiversity hotspot
  • Monitoring
  • Phycotoxin
  • Trichodesmium
  • Upwelling index
  • Western Boundary System

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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