DAO 110:113-121 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02734

Contribution to the DAO Special: 'Microcell parasites of molluscs'

Thirty-year history of Irish (Rossmore) Ostrea edulis selectively bred for disease resistance to Bonamia ostreae 

Sharon A. Lynch1,*, Grace Flannery1, Tristan Hugh-Jones2, David Hugh-Jones2, Sarah C. Culloty

1Aquaculture & Fisheries Development Centre, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Science, University College Cork, The Cooperage, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, Ireland
2Atlantic Shellfish Ltd., Rossmore, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork, Ireland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The protistan pathogen Bonamia ostreae was first detected in Ostrea edulis at Rossmore, Cork Harbour, on the south coast of Ireland in 1987. A selective breeding programme commenced in 1988 by Atlantic Shellfish Ltd. to produce B. ostreae-resistant oysters using 3 to 4 yr old survivors as broodstock for controlled spawning in land-based spatting ponds. On-growing of oyster spat settled on mussel cultch was carried out on designated beds within Cork Harbour. Oyster production subsequently increased successfully, resulting in 3 yr old Rossmore O. edulis being marketed from 1993 onwards and a record tonnage of 4 yr old oysters being produced in 1995 and 1996. O. edulis production, B. ostreae prevalence and oyster mortalities have been monitored and recorded at Rossmore for over 30 yr. The collation and analysis of this data from 52 samples and 3190 oysters demonstrate the introduction and progression of bonamiosis and subsequent interventions to ameliorate disease effects during this period at Rossmore. Results suggest that O. edulis mortalities are now negligible during the first 4 yr of growth, prevalence of B. ostreae infection is low, and no correlation exists between prevalence of infection and oyster mortalities. This study, when compared to other studies of bonamiosis-infected oyster populations, suggests that an intervention in the form of a selective breeding programme is required to reduce the impact of the disease.


KEY WORDS: Native European oyster · Protistan · Pathogen · Breeding programme · Disease management


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Cite this article as: Lynch SA, Flannery G, Hugh-Jones T, Hugh-Jones D, Culloty SC (2014) Thirty-year history of Irish (Rossmore) Ostrea edulis selectively bred for disease resistance to Bonamia ostreae . Dis Aquat Org 110:113-121. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02734

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