Mortality of centrarchid fishes in the potomac drainage: Survey results and overview of potential contributing factors

Vicki Suzette Blazer, L. R. Iwanowicz, C. E. Starliper, D. D. Iwanowicz, P. Barbash, J. D. Hedrick, S. J. Reeser, J. E. Mullican, S. D. Zaugg, M. R. Burkhardt, J. Kelble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Skin lesions and spring mortality events of smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu and selected other species were first noted in the South Branch of the Potomac River in 2002. Since that year morbidity and mortality have also been observed in the Shenandoah and Monocacy rivers. Despite much research, no single pathogen, parasite, or chemical cause for the lesions and mortality has been identified. Numerous parasites, most commonly trematode metacercariae and myxozoans; the bacterial pathogens Aeromonas hydrophila, Aeromonas salmonicida, and Flavobacterium columnare; and largemouth bass virus have all been observed. None have been consistently isolated or observed at all sites, however, nor has any consistent microscopic pathology of the lesions been observed. A variety of histological changes associated with exposure to environmental contaminants or stressors, including intersex (testicular oocytes), high numbers of macrophage aggregates, oxidative damage, gill lesions, and epidermal papillomas, were observed. The findings indicate that selected sensitive species may be stressed by multiple factors and constantly close to the threshold between a sustainable (healthy) and nonsustainable (unhealthy) condition. Fish health is often used as an indicator of aquatic ecosystem health, and these findings raise concerns about environmental degradation within the Potomac River drainage. Unfortunately, while much information has been gained fromthe studies conducted to date, due to the multiple state jurisdictions involved, competing interests, and other issues, there has been no coordinated approach to identifying and mitigating the stressors. This synthesis emphasizes the need for multiyear, interdisciplinary, integrative research to identify the underlying stressors and possible management actions to enhance ecosystem health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-218
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Aquatic Animal Health
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

Fingerprint

Potomac River
lesion
lesions (animal)
Micropterus dolomieu
drainage
mortality
ecosystem health
Santee-Cooper ranavirus
fish
Flavobacterium columnare
interdisciplinary research
parasites
fish health
Aeromonas salmonicida
parasite
papilloma
pathogen
pathogens
metacercariae
Aeromonas hydrophila

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

Blazer, V. S., Iwanowicz, L. R., Starliper, C. E., Iwanowicz, D. D., Barbash, P., Hedrick, J. D., ... Kelble, J. (2010). Mortality of centrarchid fishes in the potomac drainage: Survey results and overview of potential contributing factors. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 22(3), 190-218. https://doi.org/10.1577/H10-002.1
Blazer, Vicki Suzette ; Iwanowicz, L. R. ; Starliper, C. E. ; Iwanowicz, D. D. ; Barbash, P. ; Hedrick, J. D. ; Reeser, S. J. ; Mullican, J. E. ; Zaugg, S. D. ; Burkhardt, M. R. ; Kelble, J. / Mortality of centrarchid fishes in the potomac drainage : Survey results and overview of potential contributing factors. In: Journal of Aquatic Animal Health. 2010 ; Vol. 22, No. 3. pp. 190-218.
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Blazer, VS, Iwanowicz, LR, Starliper, CE, Iwanowicz, DD, Barbash, P, Hedrick, JD, Reeser, SJ, Mullican, JE, Zaugg, SD, Burkhardt, MR & Kelble, J 2010, 'Mortality of centrarchid fishes in the potomac drainage: Survey results and overview of potential contributing factors', Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 190-218. https://doi.org/10.1577/H10-002.1

Mortality of centrarchid fishes in the potomac drainage : Survey results and overview of potential contributing factors. / Blazer, Vicki Suzette; Iwanowicz, L. R.; Starliper, C. E.; Iwanowicz, D. D.; Barbash, P.; Hedrick, J. D.; Reeser, S. J.; Mullican, J. E.; Zaugg, S. D.; Burkhardt, M. R.; Kelble, J.

In: Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, Vol. 22, No. 3, 01.12.2010, p. 190-218.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T2 - Survey results and overview of potential contributing factors

AU - Blazer, Vicki Suzette

AU - Iwanowicz, L. R.

AU - Starliper, C. E.

AU - Iwanowicz, D. D.

AU - Barbash, P.

AU - Hedrick, J. D.

AU - Reeser, S. J.

AU - Mullican, J. E.

AU - Zaugg, S. D.

AU - Burkhardt, M. R.

AU - Kelble, J.

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