Differences in growth and toxicity of Karenia
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Harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the Gulf of Mexico are primarily caused by dense aggregations of the dinoflagellate species, Karenia brevis. Karenia brevis produces a highly toxic neurotoxin, brevetoxin which has been shown to cause Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP) and respiratory distress in humans in addition to a wide range of negative impacts upon natural ecosystems. Karenia mikimotoi is a co-existing species present during K. brevis blooms. K. mikimotoi has caused major HAB events in other parts of the ocean, but has not been recognized as a major contributor to toxicity of blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. K. brevis and K. mikimotoi have both been associated with the presence of unidentified hemolytic toxins. Production of hemolysins has not previously been investigated for either species to date in the Gulf of Mexico. Presence of hemolysins may affect toxicity and the overall impact of HABs. Therefore, detection of hemolysins is imperative for accurate identification of potential harmful impacts of such blooms. The primary goal of this research is to define whether either species is capable of producing hemolytic activity independent of brevetoxin activity; and to identify if there is significant differentiation between a variety of clonal isolates regarding toxicity and growth rate when subjected to variable experimental conditions.
Neely, Tatum Elizabeth (2003). Differences in growth and toxicity of Karenia. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from