The ichthyotoxic and mixotrophic prymnesiophyte Prymnesium parvum is known to produce dense virtually monospecific blooms in marine coastal, brackish, and inshore waters. Fish-killing Pyrmnesium blooms are often associated with macronutrient imbalanced conditions based upon shifts in ambient nitrogen (N): phosphorus (P) ratios. We therefore investigated nutrient-dependent cellular acclimation mechanisms of this microalga based upon construction of a normalized expressed sequence tag (EST) library. We then profiled the transcriptome of P. parvum under nutrient- replete conditions as well as under nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) limitation via microarray analyses. Twenty three genes putatively involved in acclimation to low nutrient levels were identified, among them three phosphate transporters, which were highly upregulated under P-starvation. In contrast, the expression of genes involved in transport and acquisition of ammonium or nitrate/nitrite was unaltered in N-starved cells. We propose that genes upregulated under P- or N-starvation lend themselves as potential tools to monitor nutrient limitation effects at the cellular level and indirectly the potential for initiation and maintenance of toxic blooms of P. parvum.