VIMS researchers have found that Pfiesteria shumwayae, a member of the toxic Pfiesteris complex (TPC), kills fish by feeding directly on their skin, not by releasing a potent toxin into the water, as has been widely reported. The new research has important implications for scientists trying to understand the basic biology of Pfiesteria species and the possible tole these dinoflatellates may play in estuarine fish kills and fish-lesion events.
In collaboration with colleagues at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, VIMS researchers have found that Pfiesteria shumwayae most likely lacks the molecular machinery needed to express a fish-killing toxin. Their findings raise important questions about whether a Pfiesteria toxin exists.
View the research article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (pdf format)
|VIMS researchers, in collaboration with colleagues at the National
Fish Health Research Laboratory and the University of
Stirling, have found that menhaden skin ulcers, typically attributed to
Pfiesteria toxin, are instead caused by a highly pathogenic water mold
called Aphanomyces invadans.