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Shellfish Disease Data Benefit Global Warming Research

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science’s Mussel Watch Project has published the first country-wide analysis of parasites and pathologies in oysters and mussels to provide a baseline that can be used to judge range shifts due to global warming. Findings are represented for 126 coastal areas of the U.S. Parasites and diseases in the aquatic environment are known to be moving north and this project has the only time series capable of identifying these movements.

Significance: Stationary shellfish, like mussels and oysters, serve as sentinels of water quality in a specific location. Analysis of contaminant levels in their tissues shows improving or deteriorating trends in water quality and the level of disease incidence around the U.S.

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