Distribution of Perkinsus marinus in Gulf coast oyster populations
Prevalence (percent of oysters infected) of Perkinsus marinus and infection intensity were measured in oysters from 49 sites in the Gulf of Mexico. Prevalence was less than 50% at only one site. Both prevalence and infection intensity were correlated with condition index, salinity, and a measure of local agricultural activity. The regional distribution of P. marinus was patchy on spatial scales of 300 km or less and 1,500 km or more. Three regional foci of infection could be distinguished: the north central coast of Texas, central Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, and the southwestern coast of Florida. Lowest infection levels were recorded along the north central and northeastern Gulf, particularly east of the Mississippi River. The spatial distribution of infection varied with the salinity regime; however, other factors also explained part of the regional patterns observed. These included factors associated with man's activities such as agricultural and industrial activity and the average annual temperature regime.