Date of Graduation

5-2018

Level of Access

Restricted Access Thesis

Department or Program

Biology

First Advisor

Sarah E. Kingston

Abstract

Oysters are a vital species to the Gulf of Maine. However, they are threatened

by numerous diseases including a protistan parasite, Haplosporidium nelsoni, that

induces a potentially fatal disease, MSX, associated with numerous mass mortality

events. This projects aim is to establish a reputable baseline for MSX prevalence and

severity in farmed oyster populations in the Gulf of Maine through the quantitative

real-time PCR analysis of samples collected over six geographically disparate sites

over two years. Results show widespread incidence and varying levels of severity. All

oysters tested in sites in the Damariscotta River Estuary (DRE), JP and PI, in 2017

were infected and illustrated increased severity of infection over time. Month, year,

and site were found to be signicant predictors of variance in prevalence. Estab-

lishing a baseline is important for understanding current and future trends of MSX

movement, for ensuring the safety of wild and aquacultured oyster stocks, and for

securing investment in oysters as a commercial product.

Available for download on Monday, May 17, 2021

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