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Photo courtesy of Fernanda Mazzillo
Species in the dinoflagellates genus Dinophysis have been found to produce okadaic acid which can cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP). DSP is primarily observed as a generally mild gastrointestinal disorder, e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain accompanied by chills, headache, and fever. Different species of Dinophysis occur in Southern California waters on a regular basis, and the presence of okadaic acid has been detected in California.