Date of Award
Jeffrey W. Krause, Ph.D.
Integral parts of local culture along the Eastern Mississippi Sound System (EMSS)- eating raw oysters and fishing- can involve contact with vectors of pathogenic Vibrio spp. bacteria. High mortality rates from vibrio infections demonstrate the need for improved understanding of V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus dynamics in the region. This study assessed: 1) meteorological, 2) hydrographic, and 3) biological correlates of V. parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus in the EMSS from April-October 2019. Spearman’s correlations, linear mixed models, and non-metric dimensional scaling identified significant relationships between Vibrio spp., abiotic, and biotic parameters of the ecosystem. Vibrio spp. population dynamics were largely driven by site-based variation, with sites closest to freshwater inputs having the highest Vibrio spp. abundances. These data also suggest that the E-W wind scalar may be a novel Vibrio spp. correlate in the EMSS, and there may be a salinity effect on V. vulnificus-particle associations. Additionally, V. vulnificus abundances were correlated to harmful algal species like Akashiwo sanguinea and Heterocapsa spp. Correlates from this study can be used to inform the next iteration of predictive Vibrio models for the EMSS region.
Morrison, Blair H., "Tracking Vibrio: Population Dynamics and Community Ecology in Alabama Estuaries" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 16.