Prymnesium parvum is a toxin-producing microalga that causes harmful algal blooms globally, which often result in large-scale fish kills that have severe ecological and economic implications. Although many toxins have previously been isolated from P. parvum, ambiguity still surrounds the responsible ichthyotoxins in P. parvum blooms and the biotic and abiotic factors that promote bloom toxicity. A major fish kill attributed to P. parvum occurred in Spring 2015 on the Norfolk Broads, a low-lying set of channels and lakes (Broads) found on the East of England. Here, we discuss how water samples taken during this bloom have led to diverse scientific advances ranging from toxin analysis to discovery of a new lytic virus of P. parvum, P. parvum DNA virus (PpDNAV-BW1). Taking recent literature into account, we propose key roles for sialic acids in this type of viral infection. Finally, we discuss recent practical detection and management strategies for controlling these devastating blooms.
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