Home > news > Environmental Conditions Can Influence Development of Dermo Disease in Oysters

Environmental Conditions Can Influence Development of Dermo Disease in Oysters

Published on: 03/19/2014
Research Area(s): Coastal Change
Primary Contact(s): david.kidwell@noaa.gov

A recent NCCOS-sponsored study by the Smithsonian Institution showed that long-term exposure to daily fluctuations of hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen) increased Dermo disease (Perkinsus marinus) infection in previously uninfected eastern oysters. Surprisingly, daily-cycling pH (a measure of acidity) did not affect Dermo disease infection levels in conjunction with daily-cycling hypoxia or with continuous normal oxygen levels when compared to non-daily-cycling pH treatments. As it turns out, daily-cycling pH may actually improve the immune response of oysters. Counts of oyster immune system cells indicate that daily-cycling pH stimulates the oyster immune system. By contrast, daily-cycling hypoxia conditions suppressed immune function, supporting findings of higher disease infection under severe daily-cycling hypoxia.

These results suggest that coastal resource managers should consider daily-cycling environmental conditions in habitat restoration due to the possible population-level effects on organisms, including increasing disease. Climate change and estuarine eutrophication (nutrient loading that fuels overgrowth of algae) could potentially create such daily-cycling conditions that, if severe enough, could lead to an increased incidence of disease in estuarine organisms.

For more information, contact David.Kidwell@noaa.gov .

 

Explore Similar News
NCCOS-with-tag-to-side-bld

NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources, in direct support of NOS priorities, offices, and customers, and to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov