Inter-Research > AEI > v10 > feature3  
Aquaculture Environment Interactions

via Mailchimp
AEI - Vol. 10 - Feature article 3
Blister worms Polydora websteri (upper right) create a distinctive U-shaped tube within the shell of their bivalve host lined with mud and debris (lower right and asterisks in image on left). In heavy infestations, several hundred worms may colonize a single shellfish host, decreasing host condition, weakening host shell, increasing host mortality rates, and negatively impacting the appearance of commercial shellfish, such as oysters, served on the half shell. Photos: Paul Rawson and Sara Lindsay, University of Maine

Lauren N. Rice, Sara Lindsay, Paul Rawson


Genetic homogeneity among geographically distant populations of the blister worm Polydora websteri


Shell-boring polychaetes have impacted shellfish culture worldwide for over 100 years. One species, Polydora websteri, infests a diversity of hosts, including rock oysters, pearl oysters, scallops and mussels and has been characterized as one of the most virulent of polychaete pests to shellfish aquaculture. Rice and colleagues investigated the patterns of population genetic structure in this cosmopolitan species using mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (mtCO1) gene sequences. They observed no genetic differentiation among P. websteri populations as distant as Maine, USA, and Guangdong Province, China. Such high levels of genetic connectivity are evidence that molluscan aquaculture has been a significant transport vector for shell-boring polychaetes.


Abstract   Back to contents page   Link to full PDF