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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 563412, 9 pages
Research Article

Effects of Environmental Temperature on the Dynamics of Ichthyophoniasis in Juvenile Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasii)

1U.S. Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, Marrowstone Marine Field Station, 616 Marrowstone Point Road, Nordland, WA 98358, USA
2NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Auke Bay Laboratories, 17109 Pt. Lena Loop Road, Juneau, AK 99801, USA

Received 23 November 2010; Accepted 8 February 2011

Academic Editor: Bernard Marchand

Copyright © 2011 Jake L. Gregg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The effects of temperature and infection by Ichthyophonus were examined in juvenile Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) maintained under simulated overwinter fasting conditions. In addition to defining parameters for a herring bioenergetics model (discussed in Vollenweider et al. this issue), these experiments provided new insights into factors influencing the infectivity and virulence of the parasite Ichthyophonus. In groups of fish with established disease, temperature variation had little effect on disease outcome. Ichthyophonus mortality outpaced that resulting from starvation alone. In newly infected fish, temperature variation significantly changed the mortality patterns related to disease. Both elevated and lowered temperatures suppressed disease-related mortality relative to ambient treatments. When parasite exposure dose decreased, an inverse relationship between infection prevalence and temperature was detected. These findings suggest interplay between temperature optima for parasite growth and host immune function and have implications for our understanding of how Ichthyophonus infections are established in wild fish populations.