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Implementing the Karenia “tricorder” to Improve Red Tide Monitoring and Management in the Gulf of Mexico

Author(s): Paul, John; Katherine Hubbard

NCCOS Center: CSCOR

Name of Publisher: University of South Florida and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Place of Publication: St. Petersburg, FL

Publication Type: Abstract

Date of Publication: 2015

Reference Information: CSCOR PCMHAB15-15 Project Summary, 1 p.

Keywords: Karenia brevis; Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning; nucleic acid amplification; PCMHAB; fluorometry; brevetoxin

Abstract: The marine dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis, blooms annually in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and negatively impacts human and ecosystem health through production of a suite of toxins known as brevetoxins. Blooms of K. brevis cause widespread fish kills, and negatively impact human health when toxins become aerosolized along beaches, resulting in respiratory irritation. Brevetoxins also concentrate in shellfish during K. brevis blooms, resulting in Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning if consumed. Rapid, specific, and accurate quantification of K. brevis is needed to monitor waters in shellfish harvesting areas (SHAs) for certain cell thresholds, and to allow more timely warning of bloom conditions in coastal areas. Currently, samples are collected by an extensive phytoplankton monitoring network consisting of volunteers as well as local,county, and state partners. Cells of K. brevis are enumerated by phytoplankton analysts, in either fixed or live samples, using light microscopy. Expertise is required to discriminate K. brevis from non-toxic but morphologically similar taxa, and samples are processed individually. Samples are not easily enumerated at sea or in most field locations and are shipped to shorebased labs, causing delays in the public access to critical bloom information. A rapid, sensitive, and specific assay for the detection of K. brevis based on nucleic acid amplification technology has been developed and successfully adapted for use with the QuadPyre, a handheld sensor that detects isothermal amplification of nucleic acids using thermoregulated fluorometry. The Overarching Goal of the proposed research is to develop, demonstrate, and transfer hand-held genetic sensors for K. brevis detection to end users that monitor the coastal and estuarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Accordingly, the proprosed PCMHAB research is broken into three specific phases: I-Enhancement of hand-held genetic sensors for K. brevis detection through research and development; II-Demonstration and validation of K. brevis sensors in field and lab trials; and III- Transfer of technology to end-users and integration of genetic data into HAB observing networks.

Availability: Available from NCCOS Publications Explorer and the author.

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