Bio-active compounds?

EricHugo at EricHugo at
Sun Mar 10 09:11:10 EST 2002

Hi James:

Absolutely.  Secondary metabolites can cause subtle to acute responses in
closed systems, being produced from a large number of taxa - sponges and
corals seeming to be among the most toxic to stony corals, but this is
anecdotal.  Also, Euphyllia and Goniopora seem to be among those somewhat
more sensitive to certain other corals - such as Sinularia and Sarcophyton.

I think, though, that this might be more artifact of a closed system.  It
reassuring to find you found metabolites in skimmate as I had wondered about
the efficacy of foam fractionation in removing them.

Still, and despite their sometime potent effects, I am not sure one can
compare the effects of metabolites in a closed system to the ocean unless,
perhaps, that area is very isolated, cut off by a low tide, a small area,
a very high density of very toxic animals, has a very low turnover time,
 The dilution of secondary metabolites by the  ocean makes it seem to me
unlikely that anything but sensitive species in very close proximity to the
toxin producer would be affected.  Also, it seems that for most competition
involving bioactive compounds that there are degrees of susceptibility in
majority of cases.

I didn't read the original post, and only saw your clip from it, but it
sounds off the cuff a lot like a poisoning - I agree with that.  I just
think it likely that it is from a mass of secondary metabolites being
produced and released (many such bioactive compounds are stored and not
released, and those released may be only released under certain
times/condtions rather than constantly).  Perhaps if all the producers died
and those compounds stored in their tissues were released, it could
exacerbate the event, but the real question would be why did they die in the
first place?

Eric Hugo Borneman
Department of Biology and Biochemistry
Division in Ecology and Evolution
258, SR II
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204

EBorneman at or EricHugo at

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