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Bottom-dwelling Animals Accumulate Harmful Algal Toxins: Study

Published on: 03/06/2012
Region(s) of Study: U.S. States and Territories / Florida

Scientists aren’t clear on the specifics of how harmful algal toxins get intotop predators, but a recent study showed that whenFlorida red tides bloom, a wide rangeof bottom-dwelling creatures become highly toxic within several days.Since these benthic animals are a food source for many at the top of the food chain, this represents a newly discovered pathway for toxins to transfer.

Previous studies only focused on the accumulation ofthis red tidetoxin – calledbrevetoxin – in filter feeding shellfish and fish because of the direct threat to humans and protectedspecies.

While the amount of toxin varied from creature to creature, scientists discovered it in a wide variety ofbottom dwellers.

This project is funded bythe National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

Read the research paper abstract in the journal Harmful Algae.

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