Community Impacts of South Pacific Algal Toxin Exposure at Multiple Scales
Coral ecosystems are known for their high ecological and conservation values. Their ecotourism values and annual retail values associated with reef food fish trade are also significant. Our recent findings indicate that CTXs can negatively impact the physiology, behavior, and survival of fish, crustacean and marine mammals, and thus CTXs may have an influence on the structure and function of coral ecosystems in the PICTS. Following outbreaks of CFP, tons of reef fishes were prohibited for sale in the marketplace each year, and this may cause significant economic loss to endemic PICTS that rely heavily on coral reef fisheries. As well, the treatment of CFP is expensive. Significant medical expenses due to CFP outbreak may impose further social and economic burden to the PICTS. To develop an effective management strategy to minimize risks associated with CTXs and CFP, it is crucial to enhance our understanding on occurrence of CTX-producing benthic dinoflagellates, spatiotemporal distribution of ciguatoxic fish, and food web transfer, toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics of CTXs in the affected ecosystems.