An international team of researchers headed by Dr. Michael Parsons aims to better understand the factors that influence the occurrence of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning, the most common form of phycotoxin-borne seafood poisoning in the world. This research will produce a comprehensive understanding of the diversity, physiology, and ecology of Gambierdiscus populations in the Greater Caribbean Region.
Ciguatera Fish Poisoning
- Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) is caused by the consumption of seafood (primarily reef fish) contaminated with ciguatoxins, which persists even after cooking.
- Gambiertoxins, precursors of ciguatoxins produced by the (sub)tropical benthic dinoflagellate genus Gambierdiscus, enter reef food webs when herbivores and detritivores consume Gambierdiscus directly or indirectly by grazing on macroalgae.
- Gambiertoxins are transferred to higher trophic levels by bioaccumulation, bioconversion and biomagnification until they reach predatory finfish species that are targeted in many commercial and recreational fisheries.
- When people subsequently consume the contaminated fish, they are exposed to the toxins, thereby experiencing CFP.
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