Toxins from harmful algae found in bull sharks of Florida’s Indian River Lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is a bull shark nursery habitat crucial to survival and recruitment of Atlantic coast bull sharks. Analysis of 123 samples found the presence of one or more phycotoxin from harmful algal blooms in 82 percent of the bull sharks and their prey items. Findings highlight the potential threat of toxic algae to the IRL’s ecosystem and surrounding human populations that may consume the same prey species. The highest concentrations of most toxins were detected in gut content samples, highlighting dietary exposure as an important mechanism of toxin transfer to bull sharks in the system.

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