Determining the effects of harmful algae blooms and their toxins on fish from both environment and laboratory-based studies through the use of proteomics
Flaherty, Christine M.
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The effects of harmful algae blooms (HABs) on wild, freshwater, large-bodied fish have been under examined. Blood samples were collected from fish in Hamilton Harbor and Lake Erie to assess the effects of HABs on a molecular level using plasma proteomics. The target species were goldfish (Carassius auratus) and Gizzard Shad (Dorosoma cepedianumi), sampled before HABs formed in the spring, during peak HAB formation in summer, and after the HABs started senescing in the fall. In the laboratory, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were exposed to lysed Microcystis aeruginosa in a laboratory 14-day uptake and depuration study. The plasma from both studies was analyzed using liquid chromatography with tandem-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to identify changes in the protein profile before, during and after exposure. The purpose being to identify potential biomarkers that could determine whether a fish has been exposed to cyanotoxins and identify toxic effects of HABs on physiological function.