Interacting effects of temperature and salinity on Bonamia sp. parasitism in the Asian oyster Crassostrea ariakensis

Corinne Audemard*, Ryan B. Carnegie, Melanie J. Bishop, Charles H. Peterson, Eugene M. Burreson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    The proposition to introduce the Asian oyster Crassostrea ariakensis to the mid-Atlantic region of the USA is being considered with caution, particularly after the discovery of a novel microcell haplosporidian parasite, Bonamia sp., in North Carolina. Although this parasite was found to be pathogenic in C. ariakensis under warm euhaline conditions, its persistence in C. ariakensis exposed to various temperature and salinity combinations remained unresolved. In this laboratory experiment, we tested the influence of temperature in combination with a wide range of salinities (10, 20 and 30 psu) on Bonamia sp. Temperature was either changed from warm (>20 °C) to cold (6 °C for 6 weeks) and back to warm or maintained constant and warm. Warm temperature was associated with higher host mortality than cold temperature, suggesting that temperature influenced Bonamia sp. pathogenicity. The effect of salinity was revealed under warm temperature with highest mortality levels observed in infected C. ariakensis exposed to 30 psu. When temperature was increased following low-temperature exposure, Bonamia sp. was not detected; however sub-optimal experimental conditions may have contributed to this result, making it difficult to draw conclusions regarding the reemergence of the parasite after low-temperature exposure. Although the overwintering of Bonamia sp. in C. ariakensis will need to be further investigated, the results presented here suggest that Bonamia sp. may be able to persist in C. ariakensis under a combination of low temperature and meso- to euhaline salinities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)344-350
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


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