Research ProjectParasites of Bivalves

  • Collecting water samples

    Interns Miguel and Tillie collecting water samples to test for the transmissive stage of dermo disease. Photo credit: K. Lohan

  • Collecting oysters in Panama

    Katrina and Kristy collecting oysters from intertidal rocks at Punta Chame, Panama. Photo credit: C. Schlóder

  • Oyster tested for dermo

    Kristina preparing to take tissue samples from oysters collected from the Rhode River to test for dermo disease. Photo credit: R. DiMaria

  • metacestodes from oysters

    Metacestodes, or larval worms, found in an oyster collected in Panama. Photo credit: K. Lohan

Project Goal

We aim to increase our understanding of diseases and parasites that impact bivalve populations.


We examine the biogeography, diversity, and ecology of bivalve parasites along both coasts of North and Central America. We previously discovered an invasive oyster in the Caribbean, which harbors the same previously unknown parasites discovered in native oysters in Panamanian waters. We also examine long-term trends in Perkinsus spp. prevalence, abundance, and impacts on eastern oysters in the Chesapeake Bay though yearly sampling of wild populations of oysters and clams along with deployment of sentinel oysters. We continue to explore the mechanisms that alter bivalve parasite diversity across latitude and coasts.

Additionally, our research explores mechanisms related to Perkinsus transmission and disease ecology. We are experimentally assessing factors that influence parasite release into and removal from the water column, as these are important factors affecting disease transmission.



Molecular Data Leads to Surprising Discoveries about Oysters in Panamanian Waters. By Katrina Lohan and Monaca Noble. May 2015