A major obstacle to formulating management strategies to prevent CFP in the Caribbean has been the lack of data on the presence and distribution of toxic Gambierdiscus in the region, as well as basic information regarding environmental and physiological factors that contribute to outbreaks. This multi-investigator regional study will investigate these scientific unknowns, with an emphasis on generating temporal datasets that will be used to support robust conceptual and numerical models of Gambierdiscus at two key locations in the Caribbean. The modeling effort proposed here represents the first step in designing forecasting tools for CFP, which have been limited or non-existent, and represents a major advance in the development of management strategies to minimize human illness.
CiguaHAB will produce a comprehensive understanding of the diversity, physiology and ecology of Gambierdiscus populations in the GCR. Major outcomes and products will also include conceptual models to explain the dynamics of Gambierdiscus blooms and ciguatoxicity in the region, as well as numerical models that simulate population dynamics and toxin production under different environmental forcings. In addition to the substantial scientific knowledge generated by this research, these products represent a major advance in the development of management tools to predict and prevent this complex HAB phenomenon.