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Dinoflagellate Phytoplankton (Biotic Subclass)

Component: Biotic

Unique Identifier: 416

Biotic Setting Planktonic Biota
Biotic Class Phytoplankton
Biotic Subclass Dinoflagellate Phytoplankton
Biotic Group Dinoflagellate Aggregation
Dinoflagellate Bloom
Dinoflagellate Maximum Layer

Definition Areas dominated by flagellated phytoplankton that have some motility and can control their position in the water column to a degree, diurnally migrating from surface to bottom to maximize conditions for growth. This group has both photosynthetic and heterotrophic species, which play a large role in coastal and estuarine trophic dynamics. These phytoplankton also can form noxious and harmful blooms, including red tides that may be toxic to higher consumers and to humans. Their complex life cycle goes through many stages, which can include resting cysts that spend prolonged periods in the benthic sediments.