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Circulation and water properties and their relationship to the oyster disease MSX in Delaware Bay

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Abstract:

We apply a high-resolution hydro-dynamical model to investigate the role of physical factors influencing infection prevalence of Haplosporidium nelsoni, causative agent of MSX disease in the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), in Delaware Bay, USA. Validation studies conducted for the years 2000 and 2010–2011 confirm that the model, based upon the Regional Ocean Modeling System, has significant skill in the recovery of observed water level, temperature, salinity, and velocity. Multi-year simulations are performed for periods representing temporal and spatial variations in H. nelsoni infection prevalence (1974–76, 1979–81, 1984–86, 1990–92, and 2006–09) to assess the degree to which the variations in water properties and transport are temporally and spatially correlated with infection prevalence variations. Results show statistically significant correlations between the observed prevalence of MSX and multiple physical factors including river flow and salinity (themselves highly correlated), as well as the co-occurrence of elevated temperature and salinity values. Observed occurrences of high H. nelsoni infection prevalence at upbay locations correspond to periods of enhanced cross-bay and upbay transport together with hospitable temperature and salinity conditions.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1357/002224012802851931

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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