Earth Science News  





.
WATER WORLD
Blue Crab Research May Help Chesapeake Bay Watermen Improve Soft Shell Harvest

File image.
by Staff Writers
Baltimore MD (SPX) Jan 27, 2011
A research effort designed to prevent the introduction of viruses to blue crabs in a research hatchery could end up helping Chesapeake Bay watermen improve their bottom line by reducing the number of soft shell crabs perishing before reaching the market.

The findings, published in the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, shows that the transmission of a crab-specific virus in diseased and dying crabs likely occurs after the pre-molt (or 'peeler') crabs are removed from the wild and placed in soft-shell production facilities.

Crab mortality in soft shell production facilities is common, where it is typical for a quarter of all crabs to perish. Scientists attribute this high loss to the pressures crabs face as they are harvested, handled and placed in the facilities. When combined with the large number of animals living in a confined area, the potential for infectious diseases to spread among the crabs increases.

The team, led by University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) researchers, developed an innovative way to identify this crab virus solely by isolating its genetic material. Local watermen working in the soft-shell industry provided crabs to the Baltimore-based Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) for examination.

In the laboratory, the researchers investigated the possible role of viruses in the soft shell crab's mortality by exploiting the unique physicochemical properties of the virus genome, which consists of double stranded RNA (distinct from the double stranded DNA that makes up crab and human genomes).

They first extracted nucleic acids from potentially infected crabs then enriched virus genomes, allowing them to more easily find the virus. Once identified by its genome, the reo-like virus was later visualized by microscopy by collaborators at the NOAA Oxford lab.

"The molecular tools we developed during this study allow us to rapidly quantify prevalence of the blue crab reo-like virus in captive and wild crabs," said UMCES@IMET scientist Dr. Eric Schott.

"The research shows that the virus was present in more than half of the dead or dying soft shell crabs we examined, but in fewer than five percent of healthy crabs."

"This new information opens the door to identifying the exact practices that help crab diseases spread," adds Schott. "That knowledge will allow us to work with watermen to develop new ways to prevent the spread of the virus, allowing them to bring more soft shells to market."

"Crab for crab, each soft shell crab we can get to market significantly increases our bottom line," said Lee Carrion of Coveside Crabs in Dundalk, Maryland.

"With soft shells selling for five times the price of a hard shells, we have the potential to improve our profitability without increasing our total catch."

Throughout their research, scientists worked with watermen from Coveside Crabs to gather and collect samples for the study. Thanks to funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the team plans to continue the project this summer in an effort to proactively identify crabs carrying the virus, which poses no threat to humans, before they are brought into the soft shell production facility.

The article, "Physicochemical properties of double-stranded RNA used to discover a reo-like virus from blue crab Callinectes sapidus" appears in volume 93 of Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. In addition to Dr. Schott, UMCES researchers Drs. Holly Bowers and Rosemary Jagus, and University of Maryland graduate student Ammar Hanif contributed to this work. This research was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Maryland Sea Grant College. Student support was provided by NOAA's Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center.




Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics



Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
WATER WORLD
Thailand closes dive spots due to reef damage
Bangkok (AFP) Jan 21, 2011
Thailand has closed a host of popular dive sites to tourists indefinitely to allow coral reefs to recover from widespread bleaching caused by warmer sea temperatures, authorities said Friday. In total 18 areas in seven marine parks are off-limits, according to an order by the Thai National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department. "Diving in all the spots is to be halted indefini ... read more

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  


WATER WORLD
UN says Pakistan still in emergency after floods

Australia flags taxpayer levy for floods

Quake tipped half million Chileans into poverty: govt

Robotic Glider To Map Moreton Bay Impacts

WATER WORLD
Kindle Singles debuts pithy digital works

China's Lenovo, NEC form PC joint venture in Japan

Portable devices linked to US pedestrian death spike

NEC, Lenovo in talks on joint venture: report

WATER WORLD
No hydropower from Iraq's Mosul dam: official

Blue Crab Research May Help Chesapeake Bay Watermen Improve Soft Shell Harvest

Immersive Data Collection And Peer Networks Key To Effective Watershed Councils

First-Ever Global Map Of Surface Permeability Informs Water Supply

WATER WORLD
Study alters Greenland glacier melt view

Scientists Find That Debris On Certain Himalayan Glaciers May Prevent Melting

VIMS Team Glides Into Polar Research

Canadians prepared to fight for Arctic: survey

WATER WORLD
Bulgaria sets first annual bear hunting quota

Call for halt to pesticides in bee deaths

Wheat Resistance Genes Failing, New Approach Needed To Stop Flies

Philippines rice 2010 farm output hit by weather

WATER WORLD
Over 1,300 feared dead in Rio flooding

Airlines cancel Bali flights to avoid volcano ash

Australians face flood recovery tax

Saudi scrambles rescue teams for Jeddah floods

WATER WORLD
French defence minister spells out Ivory Coast position

Commentary: Explosive kaleidoscope

Wildlife rangers among eight killed in Congo attack

South Sudan eyes landslide to secede

WATER WORLD
Ancient toolkit offers new clues to humans' journey

Human Ability To Throw Long Distances Aided By An Illusion

Out Of Mind In A Matter Of Seconds

Australia: three charged in asylum deaths


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement