Cyanobacteria on the Caloosahatchee in Alva on June 24, 2018.  Photo by R. Gause.
Cyanobacteria on the Caloosahatchee in Alva on June 24, 2018. Photo by R. Gause.

Join the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation to view the award-winning documentary, “Toxic Puzzle,” which is about the hunt for a link between toxic algal blooms and ALS and Alzheimer’s.

The screening will be held as part of SCCF’s Evenings at the Homestead series at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 at the Bailey Homestead Preserve, 1300 Periwinkle Way. Tickets are $10 and available through Eventbrite (visit and click on Programs). Doors open at 5:30 and refreshments will be available then.

Is there a link between cyanobacteria – like the major bloom in the Caloosahatchee and Lake Okeechobee this past summer – and ALS? Scientists believe there is a link between neurodegenerative diseases and environmental toxins.

Ellie O’Connell, a young woman stricken with ALS, becomes the inspiration that drives scientist Paul Cox in his quest to find a cure. This is a medical and environmental detective story where documentary filmmaker Bo Landin follows Cox and his team around the world in the hunt for a hidden killer.
The pieces come together in a toxic puzzle where the role of cyanobacteria toxins are investigated. Cyanobacteria blooms have become almost an annual occurrence in the Caloosahatchee over the past decade. What is the link between human health and these organisms fed by human pollution and higher temperatures?

Q&A will follow the screening with Rae Ann Wessel, SCCF Natural Resource Policy Director and Dr. Larry Brand from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, who is interviewed in Toxic Puzzle and local physician David M. Berger, MD, FACS, General Surgeon and Sanibel resident. Dr. Brand's research has found evidence of toxins from blue-green algae in crabs, shrimp and other parts of the estuarine food web.