The combined influence of sub-optimal temperature and salinity on the in vitro viability of Perkinsus marinus, a protistan parasite of the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica

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Perkinsus marinus is a major cause of mortality in eastern oysters along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts. It is also well documented that temperature and salinity are the primary environmental factors affecting P. marinus viability and proliferation. However, little is known about the effects of combined sub-optimal temperatures and salinities on P. marinus viability. This in vitro study examined those effects by acclimating P. marinus at three salinities (7, 15, 25. ppt) to 10 °C to represent the lowest temperatures generally reached in the Gulf of Mexico, and to 2 °C to represent the lowest temperatures reached along the mid-Atlantic coasts and by measuring changes in cell viability and density on days 1, 30, 60 and 90 following acclimation. Cell viability and density were also measured in 7. ppt cultures acclimated to each temperature and then transferred to 3.5. ppt. The largest decreases in cell viability occurred only with combined low temperature and salinity, indicating that there is clearly a synergistic effect. The largest decreases in cell viability occurred only with both low temperature and salinity after 30. days (3.5. ppt, 2 °C: 0% viability), 60. days (3.5. ppt, 10 °C: 0% viability) and 90. days (7. ppt, 2 °C: 0.6 ± 0.7%; 7. ppt, 10 °C: 0.2 ± 0.2%). © 2010 .

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Journal of Invertebrate Pathology

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