TitleRe-emergence of Vibrio tubiashii in bivalve shellfish aquaculture: severity, environmental drivers, geographic extent and management.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsElston, RA, Hasegawa, H, Humphrey, KL, Polyak, IK, Häse, CC
JournalDiseases of aquatic organisms
Date Published2008 Nov 20

During 2006 and 2007, we documented the re-emergence of severe episodes of vibriosis caused by Vibrio tubiashii in shellfish hatcheries on the west coast of North America. Lost larval and juvenile production included 3 previously undescribed hosts, Pacific (Crassostrea gigas) and Kumamoto (C. sikamea) oysters and geoduck clams Panope abrupta, with a 2007 decline in larval oyster production of approximately 59% in one hatchery. Losses of larval and juvenile bivalves were linked to V. tubiashii blooms in the coastal environment, which were associated with the apparent mixing of unusually warm surface seawater and intermittently upwelled cooler, nutrient- and Vibrio spp.- enriched seawater. The ocean temperature elevation anomaly in 2007 was not clearly linked to an El Niño event, as was a similar episode in 1998. Concentrations of the dominant shellfish-pathogenic vibrios were as high as 1.6 x 10(5) cfu ml(-1) in the cold, upwelled water. The bacteria possessed the genes coding for a protease and hemolysin described for V. tubiashii, and pathogenic isolates secreted these peptides. Lesions resulting from a classic invasive disease and a toxigenic noninvasive disease occurred in oyster and geoduck clam larvae. Management and prevention require reduction of incoming concentrations of the bacteria, reduction of contamination in water and air supplies and in stock chemical solutions, removal of bacterial toxins, and interruption of the cycle of bacterial amplification in the hatchery and in microalgal food supplies.