Angela Capper


Angela Capper

PhD Marine Ecotoxicology (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia), MSc (Distinction) Marine Resource Development and Protection (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK), BSc (Hons) Environmental Toxicology (major) and Biomedical Science (minor) (Anglia University, Cambridge, UK)

Contact Details




4781 4439


4725 1570





  • BZ1001 (Subject Coordinator) Introduction to Biological Processes

  • AG/1007/BZ1007 – Introduction to Plants and Animals for Veterinary Science/Introduction to Biodiversity

  • BZ1008 – Functional Ecology

  • MB2640 – Marine Plants and Algae in their Environments (rescheduled for 2014)


I have a broad interest in the ecophysiology and chemical ecology of toxic harmful algal blooms (HAB’s) in the marine environment. I am specifically interested in the biotic interactions associated with these blooms in particular, the trophic transfer, bioaccumulation, vectorial and maternal transfer of toxins.

Previous research focused upon the toxic cyanobacteria Lyngbya spp. with particular emphasis on trophic transfer of toxins in herbivorous grazer species in Australia, Guam, USA and Belize. Chemical ecology, distribution and seasonality of Lyngbya blooms were also investigated, along with the ecophysiology of Lyngbya blooms with particular emphasis upon the impact of nutrients on bloom productivity and toxicity.

My research focus shifted from cyanobacteria to dinoflagellate based toxins including saxitoxins, brevetoxins, okadaic acid in Florida with particular emphasis on trophic transfer of toxins to green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris).

Current research goals focus on the impact of climate change on range expansion of the benthic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus (causative organism of CFP - Ciguatera Fish Poisoning). This research will assess associated risks to new target environments, human health and socioeconomics of recreational and commercial fisheries with specific interest in trophic transfer of HAB toxins to a range of organisms (including sharks, fish, turtles and dugongs); bioaccumulation and biomagnification via consumption and vectorial transfer; and maternal transfer.

Selected Publications

Kohli, G.S., Murray, S., Neilan, B., Rhodes, L., Harwood, D.T., Smith, K., Meyer, L., Capper, A, Hallegraeff, G. (in press) Abundance of the potentially maitotoxic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus carpenteri in temperate waters of New South Wales, Australia. Harmful Algae

Capper, A., Flewelling, L.J. &Arthur, K.E. (2013).Dietary exposure to harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins in the endangered manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) and green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Florida, USA Harmful Algae, 28, 1-9.

Clark, K.E., Capper, A., Della Togna, G. Paul, V.J., Romero, L.I., Johns, J., Cubilla-Rios, L. & Capson, T.L. (2013) Ecology- and bioassay-guided drug discovery for treatments of tropical parasitic disease: 5α,8α-Epidioxycholest-6-en-3β-ol isolated from the mollusk Dolabrifera dolabrifera shows significant activity against Leishmania donovani. Natural Products Communications 8(11), pp.1537-1540

Heimann, K. Capper, A. and Sparrow, L. (2011) Ocean surface warming: impact on toxic benthic dinoflagellates causing ciguatera. The Encyclopedia of Life Sciences A23373, Wiley Publishing

Capper, A. and Paul, V.J. (2008). Grazer interactions with four species of Lyngbya in southeast Florida. Harmful Algae, 7(6), p.717-728.

Arthur, A., Limpus, C.J., Capper, A., Eaglesham, G., Udy, J. & Shaw, G. (2008). The exposure of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) compounds produced by the cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula and their potential role in the aetiology of fibropapillomatosis. Harmful Algae, 7(1), p.114-125

Capper, A.; Tibbetts, I.R.; O’Neil, J.M. and Shaw, G.R. (2006). Dietary selectivity for the toxic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula and resultant growth rates in two species of opisthobranch mollusc. Journal Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 331, 133-144.

Capper, A.; Tibbetts, I.R.; O’Neil, J.M. and Shaw, G.R. (2006). Feeding preference and deterrence in rabbitfish Siganus fuscescens for the cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula in Moreton Bay, South East Queensland, Australia. Journal of Fish Biology 68, 1589-1609.

Capper, A.; Cruz-Rivera, E.; Paul, V.J. and Tibbetts, I.R. (2006). Chemical deterrence of a marine cyanobacterium against sympatric and non-sympatric consumers Hydrobiologia 553(1), 319-326.

Capper, A.; Tibbetts, I.R.; O’Neil, J.M. and Shaw, G.R. (2005). The fate of Lyngbya majuscula toxins in three potential consumers. Journal of Chemical Ecology 31(7), 1595-1606.

Capper, A.; Tibbetts, I.R.; O’Neil, J.M. and Shaw, G.R. (2003). A review of feeding preference and deterrence in three faunal species associated with cyanobacterial blooms of Lyngbya majuscula in southeast Queensland, Australia. . (Eds: Steidinger, K.A., Landsberg, J.H., Tomas, C.R. and Vargo, G.A.) 2004 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Institute of Oceanography, and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, St. Petersberg, Florida, USA, pp.461-464.

Reports based in central Great Barrier Reef

Heimann, K., Sparrow, L., Momogliano, P., Capper, A., Blair, D., 2011. Final Report on toxic dinoflagellate species identified within the Great Barrier Reef region. The GBR atlas - a work in progress, Project 2.6.1 Identification and impact of invasive pests in the Great Barrier Reef. Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility, p. 49 pp.

Heimann, K., Sparrow, L., Capper, A., Blair, D., 2010. Final report on seasonal sampling of toxic microalgae from the central GBR, Project 2.6.1 Identification and impact of invasive pests in the Great Barrier Reef. The Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility, p. 19 pp.