Blue Tang on Coral Reef

Understanding the fate and response of ciguatoxin exposure in marine species to better predict and prevent ciguatera risk.

Research Aims

doctor Fish
Caribbean doctor fish

Specific Aim 1:

Evaluate the uptake, bioaccumulation and depuration rates of ciguatoxins into the marine food web

Caribbean doctor fish

Culture Maintenance of neuroblastoma cells
Culture maintenance of neuroblastoma cells used for quantification of toxicity in fish and algae extracts.

Specific Aim 2:

Evaluate ciguatoxin metabolism and isolate and characterize toxin metabolites from marine organisms to determine pathways and toxicity mechanisms

Culture maintenance of neuroblastoma cells used for quantification of toxicity in fish and algae extracts.

Ciguatoxin Purification
Methanol evaporation for ciguatoxin purification.

Specific Aim 3:

Evaluate the physiological mechanisms of acute and sub-lethal ciguatoxin exposure using cell based models and in vivo fish models

Methanol evaporation for ciguatoxin purification.

Chambers for ciguatoxin exposure experiment
Graduate student, Sean Collins, setting up experimental chambers for ciguatoxin exposure experiment in a model fish species.

Specific Aim 4:

Examine biomarkers of exposure using cellular and vertebrate models to better understand pathways of toxicity and to identify targets for development of biosensors & diagnostics

Graduate student, Sean Collins, setting up experimental chambers for ciguatoxin exposure experiment in a model fish species.

Project Lead

Alison Robertson, Ph.D.

Alison Robertson, Ph.D.

University of South Alabama
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Research Project 2 Lead
arobertson@disl.org

Robertson has expertise in biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, risk assessment, natural product chemistry, and mass spectrometry. She leads research on the physiological and biochemical mechanisms of toxicity and resistance across organisms and food webs. Robertson's research aims to characterize and understand the meta-metabolome of epi-benthic algal communities, structurally elucidate and evaluate toxicological mechanisms and pathways of metabolite formation and biomarker upregulation across marine organisms, and develop methods and reference materials to evaluate toxicity and ecological role. Robertson is also the research director of NSF CiguaPIRE, a large trans-ocean partnership in ciguatera research and is heavily engaged in bidirectional education and stakeholder linked research initiatives.

Learn More...ecotoxiclologylab.org

Robertson has expertise in biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, risk assessment, natural product chemistry, and mass spectrometry. She leads research on the physiological and biochemical mechanisms of toxicity and resistance across organisms and food webs. Robertson's research aims to characterize and understand the meta-metabolome of epi-benthic algal communities, structurally elucidate and evaluate toxicological mechanisms and pathways of metabolite formation and biomarker upregulation across marine organisms, and develop methods and reference materials to evaluate toxicity and ecological role. Robertson is also the research director of NSF CiguaPIRE, a large trans-ocean partnership in ciguatera research and is heavily engaged in bidirectional education and stakeholder linked research initiatives.

Learn More...ecotoxiclologylab.org

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHER

Molly Miller, Ph.D.

Molly Miller, Ph.D.

University of South Alabama
mmmiller@disl.org

Graduate Students

Clay Bennett

Clay Bennett

Ph.D. Student
cbennett@disl.org

Jesse Gwinn

Jesse Gwinn

Ph.D. Student
Specific Aim 2
jgwinn@disl.org

Alex Leynse

Alex Leynse

Ph.D. Student
Specific Aim 2
aleynse@disl.org

Sean Collins

Sean Collins

MS Student
Specific Aim 3
scollins@disl.org

Technicians

Liz Murphy

Liz Murphy

Research Lab Technician
Specific Aim 2 and RP 1
acatasus@fgcu.edu

Interns (Current and Former)

Jessica Lenz

Specific Aim 2

Sydney Markham

NSF-REU
Specific Aim 2

Sophie Maass

Specific Aim 2

Terrance Mitchell

NSF-REU
pecific Aim 3