NOAA's National Status and Trends "Mussel Watch" Program includes a comprehensive survey of the histopathology of sentinel bivalves from the east, west, Gulf, and Great Lakes coasts of the U.S. We analyzed the data for 1995–1998 to identify relationships between various parasites,
various pathologies, and between parasite/pathology pairs with the goal of identifying consistencies and differences in these relationships between sentinel bivalves and between major geographic units of the U.S. coastline. The prevalences of parasite, pathology, and parasite-pathology pairs
were significantly correlated more frequently for oysters than for mussels. The number of significant correlations within Gulf-coast oysters exceeded the number within east-coast oysters. Correlations were least frequent among east-coast mussels. The incidence of significant negative correlations
in prevalence far exceeded the incidence of significant positive correlations in all species and bay regions. Significant relationships in infection intensity occurred much less frequently than for prevalence, but positive correlations occurred more frequently than they did for prevalence.
Both trends reinforce the concept that environmental factors controlling transmission are likely distinct from those controlling proliferation. Only a few relationships between parasites were common to more than one sentinel bivalve or more than one coastal region. No single common relationship
involved a pathology. However, though commonalities were few, consistent trends in prevalence between mussels and oysters and between coastal regions suggest potentially important large-scale trends among some important parasite groups, particularly gregarines and gut ciliates, gill gregarines
and cestodes, prokaryotic inclusions and trematode metacercariae, and Perkinsus marinus (Mackin, Owen and Collier, 1950) and gregarines.
The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.