What causes Pfiesteria?

November 19, 2019 Off By idswater

What causes Pfiesteria?

What is Pfiesteria? Pfiesteria is only one cause of fish kills. Other causes include a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water, changes in water salinity or temperature, sewage or chemical spills, red or brown tides, infections, and other environmental changes.

What nutrient sources contribute to Pfiesteria outbreaks?

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are thought to encourage the growth of Pfiesteria populations by stimulating the growth of algae that Pfiesteria feeds on when in its non-toxic forms.

How is Pfiesteria transmitted?

Under certain conditions, Pfiesteria piscicida experiences a large population increase, or “bloom”. The exact chemistry and biology of the toxin is unknown; however, it is known that Pfiesteria piscicida itself is not an infectious agent; it does not spread from fish to fish or from fish to humans.

What does Pfiesteria do to humans?

Acute high-level exposures to waterways where Pfiesteria has been identified have been linked with eye and respiratory irritation, headache, and gastrointestinal complaints.

Where does Pfiesteria occur?

Pfiesteria is a genus of heterotrophic dinoflagellates whose members inhabit the sediment and water column of shallow, quiescent estuaries and bays along the mid-Atlantic coast of the U.S. Pfiesteria occurs primarily in North Carolina, but has been reported in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

What is found in fish associated with Pfiesteria?

Pfiesteria is a genus of heterotrophic dinoflagellates that has been associated with harmful algal blooms and fish kills.

What nutrient sources might contribute to this problem?

Some nutrient sources that might be contributing to this problem are fertilizers and sewage treatment plants. These could be causing the high levels of nutrients that are moving into the estuary. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulations to manage water pollution.

Why might some fish have more of this toxin than others?

Methylmercury is a form of mercury and a very toxic compound. Then, when the larger fish at the top of the food chain eat these fish, they too accumulate methylmercury. In this way, fish and other creatures who are at the top of the food chain end up accumulating more and more of this toxic compound.

Can Pfiesteria kill humans?

When airborne, some red tide toxins have direct effects on human lungs, causing asthma. But Pfiesteria is the only known algal toxin that apparently is absorbed through skin or lungs, causing systemic effects on human health, including memory loss and other neurological symptoms.

What happened to the Neuse River in 1991?

In 1991, the Neuse River suffered one the largest fish kills of any river in America. In a matter of days during September 1991, over one billion fish perished. This is well documented in the scientific literature.

What are 5 sources of nutrient pollution?

Nutrient pollution released to freshwater and coastal areas comes from many diverse sources including agriculture, aquaculture, septic tanks, urban wastewater, urban stormwater runoff, industry, and fossil fuel combustion. Nutrients enter aquatic ecosystems via the air, surface water, or groundwater (Figure 1).