Home > Research > Project Summary
link: GCRC homepage

Effects on the Blue Crab Population of Coastal Georgia of a Disease Associated with Parasitic Dinoflagellate, Hematodinium sp.

Preliminary Survey of Infection Intensity and Prevalence of Parasitic Dinoflagellate in Blue Crabs from Waters Near Brunswick, Georgia


PI: Richard Lee (Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Savannah, Georgia, USA)

Support: Georgia Sea Grant College Program (project number R/FS-4-PD)

Timeframe: 8/1/99 - 12/31/99 and 3/1/00 - 2/28/02 (complete)

Project Overview:
To use a molecular probe to determine the intensity and prevalence of the parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium sp. in blue crabs in salt marsh estuaries of coastal Georgia.

Findings:

  • A primer PCR assay was developed to assay for Hematodinium in tissues and hemolymph of blue crabs.
  • Seasonal changes in Hematodinium infection in several salt marsh estuaries of coastal Georgia were determined.
    • During the winter and early spring, Hematodinium sp. were not detected in crabs, followed by a peak of infection in the late spring, absence of crabs in the summer, and a second peak of infection in the fall.
    • The absence of crabs in the summer appears to be due to the heavy mortality of crabs in the late spring as a result of Hematodinium disease.

Publication:
Gruebl T, Frischer ME, Sheppard M, Neumann M, Maurer AN, Lee RF, 2002.  Development of a 18S rRNA gene targeted PCR based diagnostic for the blue crab parasite, Hematodinium sp. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. D922.


Please keep us current by submitting updates and new project summaries.

Contact us
This page was updated October 13, 2006