Delving into the genetic code of gambierdiscus : the devil is in the detail

Publication Type:
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Ciguatera is a global problem but predominantly affects communities in the Pacific Island Nations, which is predicted to increase in prevalence and severity as the effects of climate change unfold. Despite the menace posed by ciguatera, very little is known about how to monitor for risk of outbreaks and report rates of the disease are estimated around 20 % at best. To address this, a global ciguatera strategy was called into action by an international body of experts and endorsed by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, which have called for ciguatera to be considered a neglected tropical disease, which needs to be characterised as a matter of urgency. Element 1 of the global ciguatera strategy revolves around the characterization of Gambierdiscus species and their distribution, as well as their toxin production. This thesis contributes to Element 1 by investigating the diversity of Gambierdiscus around Heron Island, a region where ciguatera is endemic, developing a monitoring tool for the species discovered there and then characterizing the evolution of the genus in the context of other closely related toxic genera as well as within the species. It contributes to the understanding of Gambierdiscus diversity, the species concept with description of a new species, adds information to ameliorate the scarcity of genetic data and molecular markers as well as monitoring tools for Gambierdiscus, and explores evolution of the Gonyaulacales.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: