The mortalities and subsequent recolonization of a rocky shore in S.W. Ireland following a bloom of the toxic dinoflagellate, Gyrodinium aureolum in 1979 are described. Selective mortalities of key animal species notably grazing gastropods were followed by a marked increase in fucoid algae. Enteromorpha spp. blooms were a feature of vertical surfaces only. In general planktonic recruiting gastropods exhibited the most rapid recovery. Forty-two months after the red tide, fucoid algae still dominate both vertical and horizontal surfaces at the study area.
Dinoflagellate blooms ('red-tides'), chiefly of Gyrodinium aureolum Hulburt have been recorded several times in Southern Ireland since 1976 (Ottway et al. 1979; Cross & Southgate, 1980; Jenkinson & Connors, 1980; Leahy, 1980; Roden, Ryan & Lennon, 1980; Wilson, 1982) and have resulted in mortalities of farmed rainbow trout in sea-cages in Dunmanus Bay (Parker, 1981). Other species of pelagic and demersal fish on the south coast were also affected by a toxic red-tide in 1976 (Ottway et al. 1979). Owing to the unpredictability of occurrence of dinoflagellate blooms, few studies on the effects of red tides on littoral fauna, and on the subsequent recolonization following the events have been carried out. Previous studies in Dunmanus Bay, Ireland (Leahy, 1980) suffered from a lack of the shores prior to the of information about the structure and dynamics occurrence of a red-tide.
Regular monitoring of the rocky shore biota at Dunmanus Bay (Myers, Southgate & Wilson, 1980) has been carried out since May 1978 and is continuing. The red tide of August 1979 caused dramatic mortalities of a wide range of taxa at Pointabulloge in Dunmanus Bay (Cross & Southgate, 1980).