Identification and Characterization of the Benthic Epiphytic Toxic Dinoflagellates and their Associated Microbiota on Different Host Substrates in Coastal Coral Ecosystem

Project: Research

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Benthic and epithetic toxic algae (BETA) such as Gambierdiscus, Ostreopsis,Prorocentrum spp. are globally recognized phycotoxin producers and causative agents ofseafood poisoning, e.g. ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP). The phycotoxins canbioaccumulate and biomagnify along food chains, which cause mortality of biota andimpacts on structure and function of coral reef ecosystems.Our recent study revealed 15 BETA species in the Hong Kong waters. However, factorsthat trigger such blooms are still unclear. Co-living bacterial communities such ascyanobacteria are suggested to have potential roles in phycotoxin production. This studywill be the first to characterize BETA species composition, their associated microbiota andcorrelation between the algal-microbial communities on their growth and phycotoxinproduction. The results should advance our knowledge on the potential phycotoxinproduction mechanisms of BETA, and is essential in understanding potential risk ofBETA posed on coral reef systems in the region.


Project number7004593
Grant typeSRG-Fd
Effective start/end date1/09/165/03/19