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Parasitism as a potential contributor to massive clam mortality at the Blake Ridge Diapir methane-hydrate seep

Publication ,  Journal Article
Mills, AM; Ward, ME; Heyl, TP; Van Dover, CL
Published in: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
December 1, 2005

Vesicomyid clam species are abundant in many deep-sea chemosynthetic communities, including cold seeps. They rely primarily on thiotrophic (sulphide-oxidizing) gill symbionts for nutrition and thus require sulphide-rich environments. Submersible surveys of megafaunal distributions at the Blake Ridge Diapir, a deep-sea methane-hydrate seep located ∼200 miles off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, documented massive mortalities of vesicomyid clams. The cause of these mortalities is unknown, but sulphide deprivation, sulphide toxicity, and disease are possible agents of mortality in this system. Similar redox profiles in sediment cores from live and dead clam beds do not support the hypothesis that there has been a transient shift in the flux of sulphide. To address the potential for disease as a cause of mortality, we undertook a histological survey of microparasites and other indications of disease in clam tissues. Six morphological types of parasites were identified using light microscopy, including two viral-like inclusions, Rickettsia-like gill inclusions, possible bacterial gut inclusions, bacterial gill infections, and a protistan inclusion. Of these parasites, two were pathogenic: viral-like inclusions in mantle tissues caused tissue degradation; bacterial gill infections resulted in localized disruption and degradation of gill filaments. Infection prevalence and densities were low for all parasites observed. The majority of clams examined showed intense haemocytic responses in the absence of any obvious etiologic agent, suggesting the presence of parasites not detectable by our methods. Our findings indicate that the clam population at the Blake Ridge seep was in relatively good health at the time of sampling.

Duke Scholars

Published In

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

DOI

EISSN

1469-7769

ISSN

0025-3154

Publication Date

December 1, 2005

Volume

85

Issue

6

Start / End Page

1489 / 1497

Related Subject Headings

  • Marine Biology & Hydrobiology
  • 0608 Zoology
  • 0607 Plant Biology
  • 0602 Ecology
 

Citation

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Mills, A. M., Ward, M. E., Heyl, T. P., & Van Dover, C. L. (2005). Parasitism as a potential contributor to massive clam mortality at the Blake Ridge Diapir methane-hydrate seep. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 85(6), 1489–1497. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025315405012683
Mills, A. M., M. E. Ward, T. P. Heyl, and C. L. Van Dover. “Parasitism as a potential contributor to massive clam mortality at the Blake Ridge Diapir methane-hydrate seep.” Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 85, no. 6 (December 1, 2005): 1489–97. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025315405012683.
Mills AM, Ward ME, Heyl TP, Van Dover CL. Parasitism as a potential contributor to massive clam mortality at the Blake Ridge Diapir methane-hydrate seep. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 2005 Dec 1;85(6):1489–97.
Mills, A. M., et al. “Parasitism as a potential contributor to massive clam mortality at the Blake Ridge Diapir methane-hydrate seep.” Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, vol. 85, no. 6, Dec. 2005, pp. 1489–97. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0025315405012683.
Mills AM, Ward ME, Heyl TP, Van Dover CL. Parasitism as a potential contributor to massive clam mortality at the Blake Ridge Diapir methane-hydrate seep. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 2005 Dec 1;85(6):1489–1497.
Journal cover image

Published In

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

DOI

EISSN

1469-7769

ISSN

0025-3154

Publication Date

December 1, 2005

Volume

85

Issue

6

Start / End Page

1489 / 1497

Related Subject Headings

  • Marine Biology & Hydrobiology
  • 0608 Zoology
  • 0607 Plant Biology
  • 0602 Ecology