Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Marine biology

Unveiling an ocean phantom

Certain episodes of mass fish mortality in coastal waters off the eastern United States have been ascribed to a planktonic organism called Pfiesteria. There are now fresh clues to how these fish are killed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: The dialysis technique used by Vogelbein et al.3.


  1. Powlik, J. Sea Change (Random House, New York, 1999).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Burkholder, J. M., Noga, E. J., Hobbs, C. H. & Glasgow, H. B. Jr Nature 358, 407–410 (1992).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Vogelbein, W. K. et al. Nature 418, 967–970 (2002); advance online publication, 7 August 2002 (doi:10.1038/nature01008).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Burkholder, J. M., Glasgow, H. B. & Hobbs, C. W. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 124, 43–61 (1995).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Baden, D. G. & Trainer, V. L. in Algal Toxins in Seafood and Drinking Water (ed. Falconer, I. R.) 49–74 (Academic, San Diego, 1993).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  6. Moeller, P. D. R. et al. Environ. Health Perspect. 109, 739–743 (2001).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Berry, J. P. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 99, 10970–10975 (2002); advance online publication, 5 August 2002 (doi:10.1073/pnas.172221699).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Grattan, L. M., Oldach, D. & Morris, G. BioScience 51, 853–857 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Burkholder, J. M. et al. Environ. Health Perspect. 109, 667–679 (2001).

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. Gordon, A. S., Dyer, B. J., Seaborn, D. & Marshall, H. G. Harmful Algae 1, 85–94 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Vera L. Trainer.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Trainer, V. Unveiling an ocean phantom. Nature 418, 925–926 (2002).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing