Abstract Title

Session S-01E: Eelgrass Wasting Disease

Proposed Abstract Title

Life of an opportunistic marine pathogen, Labyrinthula zosterae

Keywords

Habitat

Location

Room 613-614

Start Date

30-4-2014 10:30 AM

End Date

30-4-2014 12:00 PM

Description

Infectious disease is a critical component of healthy ecosystem function, however recent evidence indicates increased mortalities due to infectious disease in both terrestrial and marine environments. Mass mortalities affecting ecosystem engineers, such as corals, oysters, and eelgrass due to disease have lead to widespread ecosystem change. In eelgrass, the primary pathogen of concern is Labyrinthula zosterae, a fungus-like protist, a Labyrinthulmycete, which is the causative agent of eelgrass wasting disease. Eelgrass wasting disease is of global concern, detected first in Europe and the US Atlantic Coast in the 1930’s in association with mass mortalities, and has been detected in the Salish Sea. L. zosterae is considered an opportunistic pathogen, and like other opportunistic pathogens, L. zosterae are ubiquitous in the environment (waters, sediments, and hosts). By definition, opportunistic pathogens cause disease only in immune-compromised or stressed hosts, however preliminary data indicate multiple L. zosterae strains of varying virulence may exist, and a combination of stress (such as temperature, salinity, or nutrients) and strain virulence may lead to development of eelgrass wasting disease. Eelgrass wasting disease is commonly identified by the presence of black lesions on eelgrass blades (also a general sign of stress), but as an opportunist, L. zosterae can be detected in the tissues of healthy and diseased individuals. Given the challenges of diagnosing wasting disease, improved diagnosis of L. zosterae is of particular importance. In order to better diagnose L. zosterae infections in eelgrass beds in the Salish Sea, we have been using multiple diagnostic tests, L. zosterae isolations and challenges to confirm the infectious nature of L. zosterae isolated from Salish Sea eelgrass. Improved detection of wasting disease and L. zosterae strain identification is of importance to eelgrass management and restoration in the Salish Sea, and may be an area of interest for community outreach.

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Apr 30th, 10:30 AM Apr 30th, 12:00 PM

Life of an opportunistic marine pathogen, Labyrinthula zosterae

Room 613-614

Infectious disease is a critical component of healthy ecosystem function, however recent evidence indicates increased mortalities due to infectious disease in both terrestrial and marine environments. Mass mortalities affecting ecosystem engineers, such as corals, oysters, and eelgrass due to disease have lead to widespread ecosystem change. In eelgrass, the primary pathogen of concern is Labyrinthula zosterae, a fungus-like protist, a Labyrinthulmycete, which is the causative agent of eelgrass wasting disease. Eelgrass wasting disease is of global concern, detected first in Europe and the US Atlantic Coast in the 1930’s in association with mass mortalities, and has been detected in the Salish Sea. L. zosterae is considered an opportunistic pathogen, and like other opportunistic pathogens, L. zosterae are ubiquitous in the environment (waters, sediments, and hosts). By definition, opportunistic pathogens cause disease only in immune-compromised or stressed hosts, however preliminary data indicate multiple L. zosterae strains of varying virulence may exist, and a combination of stress (such as temperature, salinity, or nutrients) and strain virulence may lead to development of eelgrass wasting disease. Eelgrass wasting disease is commonly identified by the presence of black lesions on eelgrass blades (also a general sign of stress), but as an opportunist, L. zosterae can be detected in the tissues of healthy and diseased individuals. Given the challenges of diagnosing wasting disease, improved diagnosis of L. zosterae is of particular importance. In order to better diagnose L. zosterae infections in eelgrass beds in the Salish Sea, we have been using multiple diagnostic tests, L. zosterae isolations and challenges to confirm the infectious nature of L. zosterae isolated from Salish Sea eelgrass. Improved detection of wasting disease and L. zosterae strain identification is of importance to eelgrass management and restoration in the Salish Sea, and may be an area of interest for community outreach.