World Aquaculture Society Meetings


M. Victoria Agnew*, Chris Materna, Kathryn Markey Lundgren, Roxanna Smolowitz
Roger Williams University
1 Old Ferry Road
Bristol, RI 02809

The digenetic trematodes Proctoeces maculatus are known to infect the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Although little is known about the overall health effects these pathogens have on the blue mussel, it is hypothesized that severe infections can be related to mass mortality events. P. maculatus is known to have a multi-host life cycle, starting as miracidia which produce sporocysts that infect their intermediate host M. edulis. The sporocysts, located in the gonadal tubules of the blue mussel, produce daughter sporocysts, which, after producing several rounds of sequential daughter sporocysts, progress to the production of cercaria. The cercaria exit the intermediate host and move on to infect their second intermediate host or their definite host (Stunkard and Uzmann 1959). Theoretically, at the time when the cercaria leave their intermediate host there should be an increased presence of P. maculatus in the water column due to the migration of the pathogen to its next host. The ability to detect the presence and relative abundance of P. maculatus in the water column could make it possible to identify seasonality trends and to relate the departure of these parasites from M. edulis to events such as spawning or mass mortalities of the blue mussels. The end goal of this research is to create a SybrGreen assay that is capable of detecting the presence of P. maculatus in the water column. The beginning phases of this research and preliminary data will be presented, including the designing of a working primer pair and a successful PCR assay that can detect P. maculatus DNA in both tissue samples of M. edulis and water samples. This work was supported by Rhode Island Sea Grant (R/F-1416-42-1).

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