The prevalence of benthic dinoflagellates associated with ciguatera fish poisoning in the central Red Sea
Richlen, Mindy L.
Mak, Yim Ling
Morton, Steve L.
Laban, Elizabeth H.
Anderson, Donald M.
Chan, Leo Lai
Berumen, Michael L.
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
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AbstractThis study confirms the presence of the toxigenic benthic dinoflagellates Gambierdiscus belizeanus and Ostreopsis spp. in the central Red Sea. To our knowledge, this is also the first report of these taxa in coastal waters of Saudi Arabia, indicating the potential occurrence of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in that region. During field investigations carried out in 2012 and 2013, a total of 100 Turbinaria and Halimeda macroalgae samples were collected from coral reefs off the Saudi Arabian coast and examined for the presence of Gambierdiscus and Ostreopsis, two toxigenic dinoflagellate genera commonly observed in coral reef communities around the world. Both Gambierdiscus and Ostreopsis spp. were observed at low densities (<200 cells g−1 wet weight algae). Cell densities of Ostreopsis spp. were significantly higher than Gambierdiscus spp. at most of the sampling sites, and abundances of both genera were negatively correlated with seawater salinity. To assess the potential for ciguatoxicity in this region, several Gambierdiscus isolates were established in culture and examined for species identity and toxicity. All isolates were morphologically and molecularly identified as Gambierdiscus belizeanus. Toxicity analysis of two isolates using the mouse neuroblastoma cell-based assay for ciguatoxins (CTX) confirmed G. belizeanus as a CTX producer, with a maximum toxin content of 6.50±1.14×10−5pg P-CTX-1 eq. cell−1. Compared to Gambierdiscus isolates from other locations, these were low toxicity strains. The low Gambierdiscus densities observed along with their comparatively low toxin contents may explain why CFP is unidentified and unreported in this region. Nevertheless, the presence of these potentially toxigenic dinoflagellate species at multiple sites in the central Red Sea warrants future study on their possible effects on marine food webs and human health in this region.
CitationCatania D, Richlen ML, Mak YL, Morton SL, Laban EH, et al. (2017) The prevalence of benthic dinoflagellates associated with ciguatera fish poisoning in the central Red Sea. Harmful Algae 68: 206–216. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hal.2017.08.005.
SponsorsFunding for this work was provided in part by NOAA NOS (Cooperative Agreement NA11NOS4780060, NA11NOS4780028 to MLR and DMA) and by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) baseline research funds to M.L.B. Additional support was provided by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41376119, 41506137, 41276110, 41306173) and Research Grant Council (C1012-15G), and Guangxi Natural Science Foundation (2015GXNSFCA139003 and 2016GXNSFBA380037), We thank the staff of the KAUST Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab as well as Dream Divers for logistic assistance. We also thank William Bass, Jesse Cochran, Hugo Harrison, Mehreen Mughal, and Karie Holtermann for field and laboratory assistance, Camrin Braun for help on the GIS images, and María Lecanda for help with editing the SEM images. We thank Stein Kaartvedt and Burton Jones for discussion and comments on earlier versions of the manuscript, and two anonymous editors for their review and constructive critique. This is ECOHAB publication #868.[SS]
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