Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

Labyrinthula sp., a marine slime mold producing the symptoms of wasting disease in eelgrass, Zostera marina


Coastal ecosystems along the eastern United States are presently threatened by a recurrence of the wasting disease of eelgrass, Zostera marina L. Using Koch's postulates, a species of the marine slime mold, Labyrinthula, is identified as the causal microorganism of this disease. Our disease tests for pathogenicity performed on eelgrass, using four Labyrinthula spp., indicate only one species produces the disease symptoms identical to those found associated with the wasting disease. The pathogenic Labyrinthula sp. has morphological characteristics that distinguish it from the other three species. Identification of Labyrinthula spp. is difficult because species described in the literature are not clearly characterized or identifiable. Tests at various salinities demonstrate that disease symptoms appear infrequently at salinities of 10%. or less.

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Marine Biology



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