Present-absent: A chronicle of the dinoflagellate Peridinium gatunense from Lake Kinneret

Tamar Zohary, Aminadav Nishri, Assaf Sukenik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A long-term record dating back to the 1960s indicates that Peridinium gatunense, an armored dinoflagellate, dominated the phytoplankton of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee, Israel) until the mid-1990s, with a relatively stable spring bloom. However, since 1996, these blooms became irregular, failing to develop in 10 out of the past 16 years. During the later period, a significant correlation (R2 = 0. 605, P = 0. 013) was found between annual peak P. gatunense biomass and riverine inflow volume. In-lake surveys showed that patches of high P. gatunense densities were associated with water enriched with fresher inflowing Jordan River water. Supplementing laboratory cultures of P. gatunense with Hula Valley water stimulated its growth relative to un-enriched controls. A likely explanation to the recent irregular blooms of this dinoflagellate is a hydrological modification that was made in the catchment in the mid-1990s, preventing Hula Valley water from reaching Lake Kinneret in most years-except for exceptionally wet years. We propose that until the mid-1990s, the Jordan River water enriched Lake Kinneret with a growth factor (a microelement and/or organic compound) originating in the Hula Valley, which in recent years has arrived in sufficient quantities to support a bloom only in high-rainfall years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-174
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomass
  • Inflow volume
  • Jordan River
  • Phytoplankton bloom
  • Selenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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