Eelgrass Zostera marina L. populations in the Great Bay Estuary, on the New Hampshire-Maine border, decreased dramatically between 1981 and 1984. The immedi- ate cause of this decline was not pollution as found recently in other estuaries, but an infection of healthy leaf tissue by a microorganism. The slime mold Labyrinthula, associated with the 1930's eelgrass wasting disease that devasted populations on both sides of the North Atlantic, was isolated from eelgrass tissue, as were other possibly infectious microorganisms. In addition to the decline of eelgrass in the estuary, we have documented the sequence of infection and die-back in meso- cosm and laboratory eelgrass cultures that resulted in condi- tions analogous to those observed in the estuary.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Short, F.T., A.C. Mathieson and J.I. Nelson. 1986. Recurrence of the eelgrass wasting disease at the border of New Hampshire and Maine, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series 29:89-92. (Contribution No. 1313 in the Agriculture Experiment Station Series)