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Toxic Fish

Toxic Fish

December 23, 2014

Graduate student Katie Pitz collects specimens of coral rubble in an effort to combat a serious and prevalent food-borne illness plaguing tropical islands: ciguatera fish poisoning. CFP affects thousands of people annually, causing nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, and neurological symptoms that can persist for days or months. Pitz is in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, where she conducts research on the microscopic phytoplankton that produce CFP toxins and live on dead coral and seaweed. The toxins move up the food chain as small fish that eat the phytoplankton are eaten by larger fish that are consumed by people. (Photo by Melissa Moulton, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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