Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

Comparison of a current eelgrass disease to the wasting disease in the 1930's


A comparison is made of the wasting disease that struck the whole Atlantic population of Zostera marina L. in the 1930s and a current outbreak of a rather similar disease in Z. marina beds along the north-eastern coasts of the U.S.A. Although the disease phenomena on the plants appear to be very similar, disease-related declines of Z. marina are at present still very local. In Europe, diseased plants have been found, but no declines have been observed.

The wasting disease in the 1930s was not investigated before the epidemic reached a devastating stage. Present observations may indicate that a new widespread die-off may be developing. In order to facilitate the study of the current epidemic, a scenario of disease and related decline, with several variants, has been elaborated, based on the existing knowledge of the epidemic of the 1930s, but also clearly showing the gaps in this knowledge.

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Aquatic Botany



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