Oyster Disease Investigations
Both cultured and wild Island oyster populations continue to suffer losses from Juvenile Oyster Disease (JOD) and Dermo. We continue to monitor the status of Dermo, an oyster disease infecting the local oysters in both Edgartown and Tisbury Great Ponds.
Interestingly, a good percentage of the population of oysters in both ponds appears to be surviving in spite of the Dermo infection and we have been investigating the possibility that these surviving oysters may have developed a natural resistance to the disease.
In collaboration with Rutgers University and the Woods Hole Marine Biological Lab, we are conducting experiments to test the field performance of several putative disease resistant oyster strains.
Two Rutgers strains and the offspring of our hatchery’s cross of oysters surviving Dermo disease in Edgartown Great Pond are being tested in deployments in Edgartown Great Pond and Katama Bay.
Results for the offspring of broodstock selected from survivors in Edgartown Great Pond show them to be twice as resistant to Dermo as a control population. We have begun to use these Dermo resistant oysters from Edgartown Great Pond as broodstock for our seeding program in Tisbury Great Pond in hopes of speeding up the recovery of the decimated populations there. Please note that both JOD and Dermo are diseases of oysters and pose no threat to humans consuming the oysters.