Abstract

Analyses of ciguatoxicity in the great barracuda Sphyraena barracuda and quantity of toxic benthic dinoflagellates on coastal reefs (correlated with the number of cases of human ciguatera intoxications in Puerto Rico) were used to construct a model formulated on data obtained during the period of 1985-1988. The validity of the proposed model has been questioned by recent data obtained during the period of 1990-2000. Barracuda ciguatoxicity no longer showed a prominent seasonality while the fraction of randomly caught barracuda that were ciguatoxic significantly increased during this period. These two changes, accompanied by the discovery that ciguatoxic fish contained a variety of multiple toxins, appear to be correlated with the steadily increasing periods of elevated sea surface temperatures in this region.
Keywords: Ciguatera, seasonality, sea surface temperatures, multiple toxins