[Coral-List] ciguatera

Eliza Heery eliza.heery at gmail.com
Thu Mar 20 13:23:31 EDT 2008

Hello coral listers!

I have recently heard a lot more about people coming down with ciguatera,
the disease caused by bioaccumulation of toxins from the benthic
dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus in tropical reef systems.  After
reading a bit more about it, I was interested to learn that blooms of G.
toxicus may be linked to reef disturbance due to storm events, bleaching and
macroalgal growth.  It seemed there was also some suggestion that blooms in
the Pacific might be correlated with the Southern Oscillation Index.

Most of the studies I've found are from the late 1990s, and I'm curious to
know whether subsequent work has shed more light on this topic.

What more have we learned about the ecology of G. toxicus?

Is there a close link between anthropogenic modifications to coral reef
systems and increases in the abundance of G. toxicus?  If so, is this a link
we've been able to demonstrate clearly in the field?

Also, has a relationship between climate change and G. toxicus populations
been examined further?

Finally, is ciguatera something we should expect to see more of in the years
to come?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Eliza Heery

Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
Seattle, WA

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