Anatoxins in the Food Webs of Yellowstone – an online presentation given on March 24, 2021 by Katie Low of the University of New Hampshire
Anatoxin-a is a potent neurotoxin produced by cyanobacteria and associated with acute respiratory failure in domestic pets, livestock, and waterfowl. While anatoxin-a is known to be highly soluble in water, evidence for the accumulation of this cyanotoxin in plants or animals is limited. Here, we present evidence for the accumulation of anatoxin-a in various species (macroinvertebrates, fish, frogs, loons) collected from lakes in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Although additional analysis is needed, our results suggest that anatoxin-a accumulates throughout the food web in a pattern similar to that of another cyano-neurotoxin: BMAA. While accumulation in food webs may increase cyanotoxin exposure risks for some species, the overall ecological significance of this accumulation remains unknown and requires further study.