Ciguatera: Tropical Reef Fish Poisoning. Tropical Reef Fish Poisoning.

Kirsten Ruth Heimann, Leanne Sparrow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Ciguatera is a neglected seafood-derived illness induced by ciguatoxins, which are derived from toxin precursors (gambiertoxins) produced by the benthic, marine tropical/subtropical dinoflagellates of the genus Gambierdiscus occurring on coral rubble, sand, and macroalgae. Ciguatera is gaining global attention primarily due to ciguatera cases occurring in temperate regions through the expanded trade of tropical reef table fish and incurred rising financial losses. This chapter focuses on research gaps in the areas of toxin bioconversion, bioaccumulation, and trophic transfer routes. The roles of co-occurring benthic, toxic dinoflagellates of the genera Prorocentrum, Coolia, Ostreopsis, and Amphidinium are discussed, as is the controversial involvement of maitotoxins in inducing ciguatera and the potential role in severity. In order to do the above aims justice, problems with morphological strain identification are highlighted, the co-occurring benthic toxic dinoflagellate community is briefly discussed, as are the geographical range and the potential for climate change-induced range expansions of the toxin producers along with their macroalgal substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Marine Microalgae
Subtitle of host publicationBiotechnology Advances
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780128011249
ISBN (Print)9780128007761
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Benthic
  • Ciguatoxin
  • Climate change
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Gambierdiscus
  • Gambiertoxin
  • Maitotoxin
  • Sea surface temperatures
  • Toxic
  • Trophic transfer


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