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.