The overall goal of the Center for the Assessment and Prediction of the Interactions of Climate Change on Oceans and Human Health (CAPICCOHH or the Center) is to ?Enhance our knowledge of the role climate change may play in affecting Vibrio bacterial infections and Cyanobacterial toxin production to develop tools that will inform the public of the associated risks and reduce hazards to risk adverse populations that may be adversely affected?. The effects of climate change including both the individual and interactive effects of increased temperature, altered salinity, and reduced pH (increasing acidity) on Vibrio bacteria (V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus) and Cyanobacteria will be assessed to determine if there are increased in biofilm formation virulence and antibiotic resistance in Vibrio bacteria and increased growth, bloom dynamics and toxin production in Cyanaobacteria that may affect human health and seafood safety in molluscan shellfish. This will involve a combination of multi-factorial lab experiments and field studies to identify climate change- related mechanisms that may increase the virulence and antibiotic resistance of Vibrio bacteria, V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus and bloom dynamics and toxin production of Microcyctin aeruginosa, Cylindrospermopsis raciborkskii and Anabaena flos-aquae. Specifc focus on how salinity alternations may affect Cyanobacterial toxins will be a major focus of these experiments. Chemical studies will focus on determining the role of climate change in moderating microbial quorum sensing and harmful algal bloom toxin production in cultures and natural waters and in development of comprehensive multifactorial models of climate change driven alterations in surface water composition on the kinetics and by-products of harmful algal bloom toxin oxidation in sunlit waters and on sediment surfaces. Also sediment cores from lake bottoms will be analyzed for relic levels of Cyanobacterial toxins and will be dated using radio-isotope to and compared to historical changes in climate. Toxicological investigation of novel biogeochemical transport and transformation of these important infectious agents, Cyanobacterial toxins and microplastics, alone and in mixtures will also be studied, along with potential exposure mechanisms and resulting toxicology in mammalian models and in molluscan shellfish. The interactive effects of both individual and mixture exposures to highly virulent and antibiotic resistant Vibrio bacteria, highly toxic Cyanobacterial toxins and microplastics in water and seafood (molluscan shellfish) will be investigated for adverse effects on organs, inflammation and disease using mammalian models to indicate effects of climate change on human health. These projects will be managed by an Administrative Core (Director and Deputy Director) who will operate the Center on a daily basis and oversee the collaboration and integration of the projects and a Community Engagement Core which will translate technical findings into informational products and forecast that alert the public and better protect public health.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed project would create an Ocean and Human Health Research Center at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina which would focus on 4 highly collaborative and integrated research projects (Vibrio Bacteria, Cyanobacteria, Chemistry and Toxicology) which will conduct research that greatly enhance our knowledge of the climate change effects on two major ocean health issues ? Vibrio bacterial infections (leading cause of death from seafood consumption) and Cyanobacteria toxin (most frequently detected HAB toxin in US waters) exposure, primarily in brackish and freshwater, an ecological ecotone that may be most affected by sea level rise in coastal ecosystems. A multi-factorial design will examine how changes in temperature, salinity, and pH associated with climate change and gradient of nitrogen and phosphorous, approximating eutrophic conditions will affect changes in virulence and antibiotic resistance in Vibrio bacteria (V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus) and increased growth, bloom and toxin production in select Cyanobacteria (Microcyctin aeruginosa, Cylindrospermopsis raciborkii and Anaebaena flor-aquae). The Chemistry Project will further evaluate the role of climate change in moderating microbial quorum sensing and harmful algal bloom toxin production as well as increasing the potential for alterations of the kinetics and by- products of harmful algal bloom toxin oxidation products while the Toxicology Project will assess the individual and cumulative effects of highly virulent Vibrio bacteria, Microcyctin toxins and microplastics (a Contaminant of Emerging Concern) on mammalian exposure models, assessing effects on critical organs, inflammation and disease (non-alcoholic liver disease) providing critical information for the Community Engagement Core to use in its forecasts/alerts and participatory research with minority and Environmental Justice communities and with the Administrative Core to help better integrate and coordinate research across the Center.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1)
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Tyson, Frederick L
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University of South Carolina at Columbia
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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