World Aquaculture Society Meetings

THE OCCURRENCE AND SEVERITY OF DISEASE IN POPULATIONS OF BLUE MUSSELS, Mytilus edulis, IN RHODE ISLAND COASTAL WATERS

Abigail K. Scro*, Chris Materna, M. Victoria Agnew, Jillian Hamlin, Kathryn Markey, Roxanna Smolowitz
 
Aquatic Diagnostic Laboratory
Roger Williams University
Bristol, RI 02809
ascro520@g.rwu.edu

Blue mussels are an important food product and their culture in the northeast is showing great promise.  However, it has been routinely observed that blue mussels periodically undergo mass mortality events in multiple northeast locations including Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.  Pathogens such as digenetic trematodes and the microsporidial parasite Steinhausia mytilovum likely play a role in mortality events, but a full understanding of their effect on blue mussels is unclear.  In general, there is a lack of information surrounding mortality effects on blue mussel populations.  Understanding diseases in local populations could mitigate die-offs that could result in decreased ecological and economical impacts locally and regionally.

To better understand disease in blue mussels, this study assessed animals from five populations divided into three different class sizes (<30mm, 30-45mm, and >45mm) collected in Narragansett Bay, RI.  Of those five populations, three were wild sites and two were cultured stocks.  Sampling was carried out monthly from May through September in both 2014 and 2015.  The data gather over the past two years presents a comparison of the overall condition of blue mussels and looks into a possible correlation between diseases and the health of those populations.  This work was supported by Rhode Island Sea Grant (R/F-1416-42-1).

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