Five scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science garnered the Tyge Christensen Prize honoring the best paper in the journal Phycologia in 2009.
The paper reconciled classifications for six Gambierdiscus species, a microscopic alga, and described and reconciled four new species. Certain Gambierdiscus species produce neurotoxins which cause ciguatera fish poisoning, a major cause of seafood poisoning around the tropics.
For the first time, each of the ten species can be definitively identified. This identification is crucial for assessing species-specific toxicity, establishing where each kind lives and in what amounts, and for developing monitoring systems.
Litaker, R. Wayne, Mark W. Vandersea, Maria A. Faust, Steven R. Kibler, Mireille Chinain, Michael J. Holmes, William C. Holland and Patricia A. Tester. 2009. Taxonomy of Gambierdiscus including four new species, Gambierdiscus caribaeus, Gambierdiscus carolinianus, Gambierdiscus carpenteri and Gambierdiscus ruetzleri (Gonyaulacales, Dinophyceae). Phycologia 48(5): 344-390.