A toxic meal
Under specific environmental conditions, Dinophysis acuta can produce toxins associated with diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP). As the name suggests, shellfish eating this species can concentrate the toxins in their tissues. If other species ingest the shellfish, the concentrated levels of the toxins are transferred to those eating them, including humans. This can induce vomiting and diarrhea and it can even lead to death.
Climate change and changing toxin levels
Scientists have suggested that as waters become warmer and more nutrient rich, the level of toxins plankton produce could increase. Could climate change in the Arctic alter how Dinophysis acuta is distributed and how many potential toxic strains could be introduced?
How did they evolve?
Many dinoflagellates, which include Dinophysis acuta, have multiple life history stages which make them more sexually and asexually diverse than most life forms, including humans.