Pfiesteria piscicida

Pfiesteria piscicida dinoflagellate. Courtesy of Environmental Health Perspectives volume 109 supplement 5
"Pfiesteria piscicida is a toxic dinoflagellate that has been associated with fish lesions and fish kills in the coastal waters from Delaware to North Carolina. Pfiesteria normally exists in non-toxic forms, feeding on algae and bacteria in the water and in sediments of tidal rivers and estuaries. They can become toxic in the presence of schooling fish, triggered by their secretions or excrement in the water. At that point, Pfiesteria cells shift forms and begin emitting a powerful toxin that stuns the fish, making them lethargic. Other toxins break down fish skin tissues, opening bleeding sores or lesions - either of which are frequently fatal to the fish." EPA. (Photo courtesy of EHP, 2001 vol. 109-5)

USDA. National Agricultural Library.

View the results of a dynamic search of NAL's PubAg database for articles, and AGRICOLA books, on regulating water quality as it relates to Pfiesteria piscicida.

Tree of Life Web Project.

Dinoflagellates are perhaps best known causes of harmful algal blooms such as 'red tides' that can kill fish and/or shellfish either directly, because of toxin production, or by other means. "Dinoflagellate toxins are among the most potent biotoxins known."

North Carolina State University. Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology.

An extensive bibliography of scholarly articles published by the Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, including several that deal with Pfiesteria.