The Prevalence of Benthic Dinoflagellates Associated with Ciguatera in the Central Red Sea
AdvisorsBerumen, Michael L.
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AbstractThis study confirms the presence of Gambierdiscus sp., Ostreopsis sp. as well as other epiphytic benthic dinoflagellates associated with Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) in the Central Red Sea, highlighting the potential occurrence of CFP in this region. These species are reported for the first time in Saudi Arabian coastal waters. A total of 80 Turbinaria and Halimeda macroalgae samples were collected from coral reefs off the Saudi Arabian coast. Sample analyses indicated low average cell abundances (< 40 cells g-1 wet weight algae) of Gambierdiscus sp. and Ostreopsis sp. Subsequent statistical analyses indicated a significant difference in the cell abundances of both genera between sampling sites, between species and between inshore and offshore reefs. The presence of several potentially toxigenic dinoflagellate species in the Red Sea and the statistical differences in abundances between different sampling sites merits future study on possible impacts of these dinoflagellates on marine food webs and human health.