The effects of temperature and light on the germination of Heterosigma akashiwo cysts were examined using bottom sediments collected from Hakata Bay, Japan. In a suspension of mixed sediment and seawater in the temperature range of 5-30 °C, motile cells emerged within 3 weeks, but at ≤12 °C the cell numbers were markedly lower and the emergence of motile cells delayed. When suspension samples incubated at various temperatures were moved to 20 °C and incubated, only a few additional motile cells emerged. The number of motile cells germinated in the dark was significantly lower than under light conditions. When suspension samples incubated in the dark were exposed to light, only a few additional motile cells emerged. These results indicate that the initiation of germination in Heterosigma cysts suspended in seawater is not dependent on temperature and light conditions, although the speed of the germination process is affected by temperature, and cell survival just after germination is strongly affected by temperature and light.
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