Programa de Planeación Ambiental y Conservación.

Strategic Line III

Condition of Coastal Systems and their Environmental Tendency

Responsible: Dr. José Jesús Bustillos Guzmán

Ecology and Mitigation of Harmful Algae Blooms

Responsible: Dr. David Javier López Cortés

In coastal and freshwater marine ecosystems, the alteration of the balance of nitrogenous and phosphatic compounds is being exacerbated, generating severe eutrophication processes due to increases in compounds carried by rainwater and fertilizer use in agriculture and aquaculture activities. This impacts primary producers, leading in some cases to massive proliferation of ecosystem-altering phytoplankton species, or when they are toxic, affecting animal and human health.

One strategy for the management of these harmful algal blooms or proliferations is the monitoring of phytoplankton and the content of bio-toxins in sentinel organisms, however, due to the interference of their biological matrix, a recent suggestion is the use of synthetic micro-reticular resins that are able to adsorb toxic compounds dissolved in fresh or salt water. 

An early warning signal for the development of harmful algal blooms and bio-toxin contamination in areas of aquaculture, fisheries and tourism is important for consumer protection, management of growing commercial areas and to prevent the harvesting of contaminated products. In this project two types of commercial resins and a sodium carbonate compound are being tested in the field and laboratory to quantify their adsorption capacity of paralyzing toxins and cyanotoxins dissolved in water, with the objective of implementing their use as a tool of early warning in the detection of dissolved and particulate biotoxins in seawater and fresh water in different regions of northwestern Mexico including the La Paz Bay.

Marine Biotoxins: Monitoring and Effects on Organisms

Responsible: Dr. José Jesús Bustillos Guzmán

The problems associated with harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the northwestern region of Mexico have been accentuated; for example, since 2010, seven health closures have been implemented in Baja California, four in Baja California Sur and three in Sonora. The most recent ban occurred in January 2015 when paralyzing-type toxins were detected in geoduck clams of the San Felipe region (BC) due to a HAB of the dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum. Associated with this HAB, the first cases of intoxication by phycotoxins were seen in Baja California; there was also a massive death of birds and marine mammals and a ban on the harvesting of bivalve mollusks for more than four months. This HAB is one of the those having the greatest impact on wildlife and coastal economic activity in Mexico. 

The recent health events have been associated with toxins that had not previously been detected in the region. Parasitic toxins (saxitoxin) were first detected in Baja California in 2010. This year the harvesting of bivalve mollusks was closed for the first time in the lagoons of Guerrero Negro and San Quintin when diarrheal toxins were detected (okadaic acid and dinophysitoxins) by mouse bioassay. In 2012, the presence of okadaic acid and four other lipophilic toxin groups in mussels grown in the Bay of Todos Santos (BTS) was confirmed by tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Three of these groups of toxins are considered in the national regulation and two of them exceeded the maximum limits allowed (okadaico acid and yessotoxins). In 2013, concentrations of diarrheal toxins higher than the maximum limit allowed, were reported in the BTS, Baja California Sur and in Sonora.

These examples clearly show that the incidence of marine biotoxins is important, however from our perspective, the lack of a monitoring program in the region as well as specialized laboratories, has not allowed a real record of the incidence of these on our coasts. Considering the above, our work focuses on monitoring the various groups of biotoxins (paralyzing, amnesic, diarrheic, etc.) on our coasts. The support obtained from FORDECyT grants allows the use of modern detection and quantification techniques such as liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection in addition to quadrupole mass spectrometry.

Morphodynamical Zones, Hydrodynamics and Coastal Modeling

Responsible: Dr. Saúl Chávez López

Coastal ecosystems are the interaction interface between ocean and earth and therefore the associated phenomena result from a complex interaction of what happens at each stage ...

Taxonomic characterization and ecophysiology of potentially toxic epiphytic and benthic dinoflagellates

Responsible: Dra. María de Lourdes Morquecho Escamilla

Harmful events related to benthic and epiphytic dinoflagellates, both in tropical and subtropical areas, are becoming more frequent and intense globally and spreading to temperate latitudes...

Ecología y manejo de ecosistemas costeros.

Responsable: Dr. José Alfredo Arreola Lizárraga

Los ecosistemas ubicados en la zona costera (entendida como el espacio de interacción tierra-mar-atmósfera), tales como manglares, pastizales de marismas, pastos marinos, bosques de macroalgas, arrecifes de coral, lagunas costeras, estuarios, dunas costeras, playas arenosas, playas rocosas y arrecifes rocosos son reconocidos por sus valores ecológicos, sociales, culturales y económicos, por lo que resulta relevante estudiar su ecología para guiar su manejo...