[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Species within the class Raphidophyceae were associated with fish kill events in Japanese, European, Canadian, and U.S. coastal waters. Fish mortality was attributable to gill damage with exposure to reactive oxygen species (peroxide, superoxide, and hydroxide radicals), neurotoxins, physical clogging, and hemolytic substances. Morphological identification of these organisms in environmental water samples is difficult, particularly when fixatives are used. Because of this difficulty and the continued global emergence of these species in coastal estuarine waters, we initiated the development and validation of a suite of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. Sequencing was used to generate complete data sets for nuclear encoded small-subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA; 18S); internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2, 5.8S; and plastid encoded SSU rRNA (16S) for confirmed raphidophyte cultures from various geographic locations. Sequences for several Chattonella species (C. antiqua, C. marina, C. ovata, C. subsalsa, and C. verruculosa), Heterosigma akashiwo, and Fibrocapsa japonica were generated and used to design rapid and specific PCR assays for several species including C. verruculosa Hara et Chihara, C. subsalsa Biecheler, the complex comprised of C. marina Hara et Chihara, C. antiqua Ono and C. ovata, H. akashiwo Ono, and F. japonica Toriumi et Takano using appropriate loci. With this comprehensive data set, we were also able to perform phylogenetic analyses to determine the relationship between these species.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure to the dinoflagellate Pfiesteria has, under certain circumstances, been associated with deficits in human learning and memory. However, uncertainties remain about the health risk of chronic, low-level exposures (as seen among occupationally exposed commercial fishermen), particularly in light of studies suggesting that Pfiesteria strains are widespread in the estuarine environment in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region.
We selected an initial cohort of 152 persons, including 123 persons with regular, occupational exposure to the Chesapeake Bay ; 107 of the cohort members were followed for the full four summer "seasons" of the study. Cohort members were questioned biweekly about symptoms, and data were collected about the areas of the bay in which they worked. These latter data were matched with data on the presence or absence of Pfiesteria in each area, based on polymerase chain reaction analysis of > 3,500 water samples. Cohort members underwent neuropsychological testing at the beginning and end of each summer season.
No correlation was found between work in an area where Pfiesteria was identified and specific symptomatology or changes on neuropsychological tests.
Although high-level or outbreak-associated exposure to Pfiesteria species (or specific strains within a species) may have an effect on health, routine occupational exposure to estuarine environments in which these organisms are present does not appear to pose a significant health risk.
Environmental Health Perspectives 07/2006; 114(7):1038-43. · 7.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myrionecta rubra and Mesodinium pulex are among the most commonly encountered planktonic ciliates in coastal marine and estuarine regions throughout the world. Despite their widespread distribution, both ciliates have received little attention by taxonomists. In order to better understand the phylogenetic position of these ciliates, we determined the SSU rRNA gene sequence from cultures of M. rubra and M. pulex. Partial sequence data were also generated from isolated cells of M. rubra from Chesapeake Bay. The M. rubra and M. pulex sequences were very divergent from all other ciliates, but shared a branch with 100% bootstrap support. Both species had numerous deletions and substitutions in their SSU rRNA gene, resulting in a long branch for the clade. This made the sequences prone to spurious phylogenetic affiliations when using simple phylogenetic methods. Maximum likelihood analysis placed M. rubra and M. pulex on the basal ciliate branch, following removal of ambiguously aligned regions. Fluorescent in situ hybridization probes were used with confocal laser scanning microscopy to confirm that these divergent sequences were both expressed in the cytoplasm and nucleolus of M. ruisra and M. pulex. We found that our sequence data matched several recently discovered unidentified eukaryotes in Genbank from diverse marine habitats, all of which had apparently been misattributed to highly divergent amoeboid organisms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complete small subunit ribosomal RNA, internal transcribed spacer 1 and 2, 5.8S, and partial large subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences were generated from multiple isolates of Pfiesteria piscicida. Sequences were derived from isolates that have been shown to be ichthyotoxic as well as isolates that have no history of toxic behavior. All of the sequences generated were identical for the different cultures, and we therefore conclude that differences in toxicity seen between isolates of P. piscicida are linked to factors other than genetic strain variation detectable by ribosomal gene sequence analyses.
Environmental Research 10/2003; 93(1):88-91. · 3.24 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several dinoflagellate strains of the genus Pfiesteria were isolated by culturing techniques from sediment samples taken in the Oslofjord region of Norway. Pfiesteria piscicida, well known as a fish killer from the Atlantic coast of America, was identified by genetic methods and light microscopy. The related species Pfiesteria shumwayae was attracted from the sediment by the presence of fish, and has proved toxic. This present survey demonstrates the wide distribution of these potentially harmful species, but so far they have not been connected with fish kills in Europe.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2002; 269(1487):211-4. · 5.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract We characterized the physical/chemical conditions and the algal and bacterial assemblages,in ballast water from 62 ballast tanks aboard 28 ships operated by the U.S. Military Sealift Command and the Maritime Administration, sampled at 9 ports on the U.S. West Coast and 4 ports on the U.S. East Coast. The ballast tank waters had been held for 2–176 days, and 90% of the tanks had undergone ballast exchange with open ocean waters. Phytoplankton abundance was highly variable (grand mean for all tanks, 3.21 � 10, 3;