DV-19-18: New pathogen discovery in wild blue mussels from the Gulf of Maine

Dr. Mikhail Zuykov
Laurentian University

In August 2019, a pathogenic green algae, Coccomyxa spp. was found in mytilid mussels, Mytilus spp. in Jonesport, Maine and the surrounding area. Previous reports have documented the algae in Canadian coastal provinces and European waters, but this may be the first record of it in the Gulf of Maine. Since this pathogen is tolerant to changes in salinity and light, it can grow at a faster rate in the Gulf of Maine than in other areas, making this discovery a cause for concern.

This study aims to identify the taxonomic characteristics of the algae and mytilid mussels, and determine the distribution of infected mussels along the coast of Jonesport city, Beals, Great Wass Islands, and in the North Atlantic coastal waters. The principal investigators will inform the research community, local population, and the shellfish industry about this pathogen via lectures and publications.

Sea Grant Funds: $1,500