Tintinnids Diversity and Abundance in Estuarine Waters of Two Marine Areas for Responsible Fishing in the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica

  • Andrea García-Rojas Estación de Biología Marina Juan Bertoglia Richards Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional Puntarenas, Costa Rica
  • Hannia Vega-Bolaños Estación de Biología Marina Juan Bertoglia Richards Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional Puntarenas, Costa Rica
  • Valeria Quesada-Phillips Estación de Biología Marina Juan Bertoglia Richards Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Keywords: tintinnids, plankton, biodiversity, estuary


From March 2012 to March 2013, and from September 2013 to August 2014, biodiversity and abundance of tintinnids and its relationship with environmental variables were determined in two Marine Areas for Responsible Fisheries (AMPR) (Puerto Níspero and Paquera) of Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica. For both sampling areas, it was determined seasonality of the physicochemical parameters influenced by the climate variability of the zone, which was evidenced by the significant differences in the sampling time. Tintinnids population showed a low diversity of species where the main representatives were Tintinnopsis parva, T. uruguayensis, and Tintinnidium balechi; and their abundance ranged from a 0 to 5583 cells L-1. By correlating the abundance of tintinnids regarding environmental variables studied in each sampling site, a tendency for significant interactions were negative, mainly tintinnids abundance and concentration of dissolved oxygen in both AMPR. Also, environmental variables interrelate with respect to temporal behavior of the abundance of tintinnids; it was determined whether there is a relationship between the increase in the concentration of organisms and environmental variation. Overall, the presence of tintinnids shows the natural process of the trophic web, ensuring a productive dynamics at the base of the food chain of the study areas.


Abou Zaid, M. M. & Hellal, A. M. (2012). Tintinnids (Protozoa: Ciliata) from the coast of Hurghada Red Sea, Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research, 38, 249-268. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejar.2013.01.003

Alder, V. A. (1999). Tintinnoidea. En D- Boltovskoy, (Ed.), South Atlantic Zooplankton, (Vol. II, pp. 321-384). Leiden, The Nerthelands: Backhuys Publishers.

Brenes, C. & León, S. (1995). Hidrografía del Golfo de Nicoya, Costa Rica. Ponencia presentada en el Simposium Ecosistemas de Manglares en el Pacífico Centroamericano. San Salvador, El Salvador.

Brenes C. (2001). Fundamentos de oceanografía descriptiva: Aplicación al istmo centroamericano. Nicaragua: Proyecto para el Desarrollo Integral de la Pesca Artesanal en la Región Autónoma Atlántico Sur (DIPAL).

Brenes, C. L., Leon, S., & Chávez, J. (2001). Variación de las propiedades termohalinas en el Golfo de Nicoya, Costa Rica. Revista de Biología Tropical, 49, 145-152.

Cariou, J. B., Dolan, J. R. & Dallot, S. (1999). A preliminary study of tintinnid diversiy in the NW Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Plankton Research, 21(6), 1065-1075. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/plankt/21.6.1065

Dolan, J. R., Ritchie, M. E., Tunin-Ley, A. & Pizay, M. D. (2009). Dynamics of core and occasional species in the marine plankton: Tintinnid ciliates in the north-west Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Biogeography, 36, 887-895. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.02046.x

Elliot, D. T. & Kaufmann, R. S. (2007). Spatial and Temporal Variability of Mesozooplankton and Tintinnids Ciliates in a Seasonally Hypersaline Estuary. Estuaries and Coasts, 30(3), 418-430. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02819388

Epifanio, C. E., Maurer, D. & Dittel, A. I. (1983). Seasonal changes in nutrients and dissolved oxygen in the Gulf of Nicoya, a tropical estuary on the Pacific coast of Central America. Hydrobiologia, 101, 231-238. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00009879

Feng, M., Zhang, W., Wang, W., Zhang, G., Xiao, T. & Xu, H. (2015). Can tintinnids be used for discriminating water quality status in marine ecosystems? Marine Pollution Bulletin. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.10.059

Gómez, O. (1997). Los tintínidos (Protozoa: Ciliata) del mar peruano y sus relaciones con el fenómeno El Niño. Boletín del Instituto del Mar de Perú, 16(2), 61-84.

Hammer, Ø.; Harper, D. A. T. & Ryan, P. D. (2001). PAST: Paleontological Statistics software package for education and data analysis. Paleontologia Electronica 4(1), 9.

Hinder, S. L., Manning J. E., Gravenor, M. B., Edwards, M., Walne, A. W., Burkill, P. H. & Hays, G. C. (2012). Long-term chages in abundance and distribution of microzooplankton in the NE Atlantic and North Sea. Journal of Plankton Research, 34(1), 83-91. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbr087

Jiang, Y., Yang, J., Al-Farraj, S. A., Warren, A. & Lin, X. (2012). Redescriptions of three tintinnids ciliates, Tintinnopsis tocantinensis, T. radix and T. cylindrical (Ciliophora, Spirotrichea), from coastal waters off China. European Journal of Protistology, 48, 314-325. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejop.2012.02.001

Kamiyama, T. & Tsujino, M. (1996). Seasonal variation in the species composition of tintinnid ciliates in Hiroshima Bay, the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. Journal of Plankton Research, 18(12), 2313-2327. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/plankt/18.12.2313

Kress, N., León, S., Brenes, C., Brenner, S. & Arroyo, G. (2001). Horizontal transport and seasonal distribution of nutrients, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll-a in the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica: a tropical estuary. Continental Shelf Research, 22(1), 51-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0278-4343(01)00064-4

Li, H., Zhao, Y., Chen, X., Zhang, W., Xu, J., Li, J. & Xiao, T. (2015). Interaction between neritic and warm water tintinnids in surface waters of East China Sea. Deep-Sea Research II, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2015.06.008

Lizano, O. & Vargas, J. (1994). Distribución espacio-temporal de la salinidad y la temperatura en la parte interna del Golfo de Nicoya. Tecnología en Marcha, 12(2), 3-16.

Moscatello, S., Caroppo, C., Hajdëri, E. & Belmonte, G. (2011). Space Distribution of Phyto- and Microzooplankton in the Vlora Bay (Southern Albania, Mediterranean Sea). Journal of Coastal Research, 58, 80-94. http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/SI_58_8

Rakshit, D., Kumar Sarkar, S., Deb Bhattacharya, B., Jonathan, M. P., Kumar Biswas, J., Mondal, P. & Mitra, S. (2015a). Human-induced ecological changes in western part of Indian Sundarban megadelta: A threat to ecosystem stability. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 99, 186-194. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.07.027

Rakshit, D., Sankar Ganesh, P. & Kumar Sarkar, S. (2015b). Choreotrich ciliate tintinnid (Protozoa: Ciliophora) in a tropical meso-macrotidal estuary, eastern part of India. Regional Studies in Marine Science, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rsma.2015.06.003

Raybaud, V., Tunin-Ley, A., Ritchie, M. E. & Dolan, J. R. (2009). Similar patterns of community organization characterize distinct groups of different trophic levels in the plankton of the NW Mediterranean Sea. Biogeosciences, 6, 431-438. http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-6-431-2009

Reid, F. M. H. & Stewart, E. (1989). Nearshore microplaktonic assemblages off southern California in Febrary 1983 during the El Niño event. Continental Shelf Research, 9, 37-50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0278-4343(89)90081-2

Santoferrara, L. & Alder, V. (2012). Abundance and diversity of tintinnids (planktonic ciliates) under contrasting levels of productivity in the Argentine Shelf and Drake Passage. Journal of Sea Research, 71, 25-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2012.04.002

Sitran, R., Bergamasco, A., Decembrini, F. & Guglielmo, L. (2007). Temporal succession of tintinnids in the northern Ionian Sea, Central Mediterranean. Journal of Plankton Research, 29(6), 495-508. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbm032

Solano-León, E. (2012). Resumen meteorológico diciembre de 2012. Boletín Meteorológico Mensual. Departamento de Meteorología Sinóptica y Aeronáutica (DMSA) Instituto Meteorológico Nacional, Costa Rica. Recuperado de https://www.imn.ac.cr/documents/10179/14635/DICIEMBRE

Suthers, I. & Rissik, D. (2009). Plankton: a guide to their ecology and monitoring for water quality. Collingwood, Victoria, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

Thompson, G. A., Alder, V. A. & Boltovskoy, D. (2001). Tintinnids (Ciliophora) and Other Net Microzooplankton (>30µm) in South-western Atlantic Shelf Break Waters. Marine Ecology, 22(4), 343-355. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0485.2001.01723.x

Trottet, A., Roy, S., Tamigneaux, E. & Lovejoy, C. (2007). Importance of heterotrophic planktonic communities in a mussel culture environment: Grande Entrée laggon, Magdalen Islands (Québec, Canada). Marine Biology, 151, 377-392. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00227-006-0494-y

Verity, P. (1985). Grazing, repiration, excretion, and growth rates of tintinnids. Limnology and Oceanography, 30(6), 1268-1282. http://dx.doi.org/10.4319/lo.1985.30.6.1268

Villate, F., Uriarte, I., Pilar Olivar, M., Maynou, F., Emelianov, M. & Ameztoy, I. (2014). Mesoscale structure of microplankton and mesoplankton assemblages under contrasting oceanographic conditions in the Catalan Sea (NW Mediterranean). Journal of Marine Systems, 139, 9-26. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.05.004

Voorhis, A., Epifanio, C., Maurer, D., Dittel, A. & Vargas, J. (1983). The estuarine character of the Gulf of Nicoya, an embayment on the Pacific coast of de Central America. Hydrobiologia, 99, 225-237. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00008774

Wirtz, K.W. (2012). Who is eating whom? Morphology and feeding habits of co-occurring sprat (Sprattus sprattus) and cod (Gabus morhua) larvae in the Bornholm Basin, Baltic Sea. Fisheries Research, 63, 97-111.

Yu, Y., Zhang, W., Feng, M., Zhao, Y., Zhang, C., Zhou, F. & Xiao, T. (2015). Differences in the vertical distribution and response to freshwater discharge between aloricate ciliates and tintinnids in the East China Sea. Journal of Marine Systems, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2015.02.005

Zhang, C., Zhang, W., Ni, X., Zhao, Y., Huang, L. & Xiao, T. (2015). Influence of different wáter masses on planktonic ciliate distribution on the East China Sea self. Journal of Marine Systems, 141, 98-11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.09.003

How to Cite
García-Rojas, A., Vega-Bolaños, H., & Quesada-Phillips, V. (2017). Tintinnids Diversity and Abundance in Estuarine Waters of Two Marine Areas for Responsible Fishing in the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica. Uniciencia, 31(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.15359/ru.31-1.1
Original scientific papers (evaluated by academic peers)