Pathogenic Perkinsus marinus Frequency in Consumable Oysters Used in Reef Restoration



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Dermo (Perkinsus marinus) disease is a highly transmissible pathogen which causes mortality of the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica). The Galveston Bay Foundation collects oyster shells from restaurants, sun cures them for approximately 6 months, and then utilizes those shells to restore reefs. The purpose of sun curing is to eliminate any Dermo remaining on oyster shells, however, individuals may not sun cure their shells before returning them to the marine environment. The objective of this study was to determine Dermo infection rates for oysters from a grocery store versus a restaurant. No significant difference was found between infection rate of grocery store and restaurant oysters - 22% and 21% respectively, were infected with Dermo. Despite both sources having oysters positive for Dermo, only restaurant shells are collected for Galveston Bay Foundationï¾’s shell recycling program. In the future, extending shell recycling programs to grocery stores would aid in the reef restoration effort and avoid the potential reintroduction of Dermo via shells which are not part of an existing shell recycling program.