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Current and emerging diseases of the European lobster (Homarus gammarus): a review

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The European lobster, Homarus gammarus (Linnaeus, 1758), supports an important fishery in European waters and is valued at approximately ?32.6 million yr–1 to the UK alone. Despite its importance, studies on the pathogens and parasites of this lobster species are relatively lacking compared with studies of other decapods, notably its American counterpart, Homarus americanus H. Milne-Edwards, 1837. Despite the limited scientific literature, the individual parasites and pathogens of H. gammarus documented to date do cover a range of taxa. Here, we discuss the established pathogens: bacterial disease gaffkemia, a parasitic copepod that resides on lobster gills, Nicothoe astaci Audouin and Edwards, 1826, a shell disease syndrome, and the oomycete Haliphthoros milfordensis Vishniac, 1958. Emerging pathogens are also discussed, including white spot syndrome virus, a possible species of Microsporidia, and the devastating epizootic shell disease (ESD), which has deleteriously affected lobster populations along the eastern seaboard of the USA. The review has been spurred by a recent flurry in research into pathogens of H. gammarus after the discovery of ESD-infected H. americanus in European waters. Here, we summarize known information on H. gammarus pathogens and parasites, including their pathology and etiology, followed with a discussion on the potential threat and detriment (past, present and future) of such parasites and diseases to the health of individuals and populations of H. gammarus within European fisheries.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biosciences, College of Science, Swansea University, Swansea, SA2 8PP, United Kingdom, Unidad Académica de Sistemas Arrecifales, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo 77580, Mexico;, Email: [email protected] 2: Emma Wootton Consultancy, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 4JA, United Kingdom

Publication date: 01 July 2018

This article was made available online on 28 June 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Current and emerging diseases of the European lobster (Homarus gammarus): a review".

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  • 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.
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