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Interactive effects of infectious diseases and pollution in aquatic molluscs

Author(s): Morley NJ

Abstract

Aquatic molluscs are ideal invertebrate model systems for environmental monitoring and toxicology. However, like all animals, they are subjected to a wide range of infectious diseases that can have significant effects on host ecology and physiology and are therefore a source of natural stress to populations. Anthropogenic activities, especially involving chemical contaminants that pollute the environment, can also affect molluscan ecological and physiological parameters.

In combination, pollution and pathogens represent a serious threat to the health of aquatic communities that has been increasingly recognised. The present article reviews the interactive effects of viral, bacterial, protozoan, and trematode infections with toxic pollutants on aquatic molluscs. The interactions between pollution and other less well studied infectious diseases as well as the differing responses to pathogens and pollution between wild and cultured molluscan populations are also considered.

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