Getting poster data...
Anna Liza Kretzschmar (Climate Change Cluster, University of Technology Sydney, Australia)Depicted is Gambierdiscus lapillus, a new species of single celled marine algae found at Heron Island at the Great Barrier Reef, QLD. Some species of Gambierdiscus produce potent neurotoxic ciguatoxins, which after passing through the food chain cause ciguatera fish poisoning in humans. The disease is highly morbid, widely distributed and has no cure. Ciguatera commonly occurs in Australia, yet we do not know which species is producing the toxins. During a survey trying to locate the ciguatoxin producer, we discovered this new species. Part of it's description, along with the genetic component, is a detailed representation of the cell's intricate armour plates. To do this, they are stained with calcofluor, which highlights the cellulose component of their armour bright blue. The process is rough and kills most of the critters - depicted here is cell death, with insides leaking out, in a morbidly beautiful fashion.