Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) is an acute intoxication caused by the consumption of contaminated shellfish, which is common in many regions of the world. To safeguard human health, most countries implement programs focused on the surveillance of toxic phytoplankton abundance and shellfish toxicity levels, an effort that can be complemented by a deeper understanding of the underlying phenomena. In this work, we identify patterns of seasonality in shellfish toxicity across the Portuguese coast and analyse time-lagged correlations between this toxicity and various potential risk factors. We extend the understanding of these relations through the introduction of temporal lags, allowing the analysis of time series at different points in time and the study of the predictive power of the tested variables. This study confirms previous findings about toxicity seasonality patterns on the Portuguese coast and provides further quantitative data about the relations between shellfish toxicity and geographical location, shellfish species, toxic phytoplankton abundances, and environmental conditions. Furthermore, multiple pairs of areas and shellfish species are identified as having correlations high enough to allow for a predictive analysis. These results represent the first step towards understanding the dynamics of DSP toxicity in Portuguese shellfish producing areas, such as temporal and spatial variability, and towards the development of a shellfish safety forecasting system.
- Portuguese coast
- correlation analysis