Faculty Lecture Series Spring 2012

April 26, 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Mānoa Campus, Hamilton Library Room 301 Add to Calendar

Robert Bidigare

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

Bioaccumulation of microalgal neurotoxins in aquatic food webs

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are associated with several acute and chronic diseases in humans worldwide, which are characterized by gastrointestinal, neurological and/or cardiovascular disorders that can persist or recur for many months. In the last decade, beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) has been identified as an “emerging” neurotoxin in certain species of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). BMAA has been reported to be present in a wide range of cyanobacterial taxa isolated from terrestrial, marine, freshwater and brackish-water habitats. Future changes in climate may increase their abundances and distributions because cyanobacteria grow better at higher temperatures, and often have a competitive advantage over other phytoplankton species at temperatures exceeding 25°C.

Furthermore, it has been shown that BMAA concentrations increase with increasing trophic level in Guam and the Baltic Sea. BMAA has been implicated in the etiologies of several neurological diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – Parkinsonism dementia complex (ALS-PDC) in Guam, and ALS and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the United States. Despite the widespread occurrence of cyanobacteria at the global scale, there are large uncertainties in the mechanisms responsible for BMAA bioaccumulation in brackish water and marine food webs and the health risks associated with the consumption of BMAA-containing seafood.

Ticket Information
Free & open to public during building hours

Event Sponsor
Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, Office of Research Relations, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Teri Skillman, 956-8688, skillman@hawaii.edu

Share by email