The Southern Ocean is one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. It is an area heavily dependent on marine primary production and serving as a feeding ground for numerous seabirds and marine mammals. Therefore, the phytoplankton composition and presence of toxic species are of crucial importance. Fifteen monoclonal strains of Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata, a diatom species endemic to the Southern Ocean, were established, which were characterized by morphological and molecular data and then analysed for toxin content. The neurotoxins domoic acid and iso-domoic acid C were present in three of the strains, which is a finding that represents the first evidence of these toxins in strains from Antarctic waters. Toxic phytoplankton in Antarctic waters are still largely unexplored, and their effects on the ecosystem are not well understood. Considering P. subcurvata's prevalence throughout the Southern Ocean, these results highlight the need for further investigations of the harmful properties on the Antarctic phytoplankton community as well as the presence of the toxins in the Antarctic food web, especially in the light of a changing climate.
Keywords: Antarctic; Domoic Acid; HAB; Iso-Domoic acid; Southern Ocean.