Susceptibility of Shellfish Aquaculture Species in the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland Coastal Bays to the Ostreid Herpesvirus (OsHV-1) and Potential Management Strategies

Principal Investigator:

Fellow: Mariah Kachmar

Start/End Year:

2020 - 2022


University of Maryland Baltimore County


Strategic focus area:

Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture


The Ostreid herpesvirus 1 (OsHV-1) and its microvariants are highly virulent pathogens that cause mass mortalities of oysters and pose a threat to the shellfish aquaculture industry globally. OsHV-1 causes economically devastating mass mortality events up to 100% in the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas). However, OsHV-1 and its variants lack host specificity and are known to infect a range of bivalve species and be carried by the European green crab (Carcinus maenas). There is a lack of testing and research on the East coast of the United States, including in the Chesapeake and Maryland Coastal Bays where aquaculture is an important industry for food production and restoration efforts. Chesapeake and Maryland coastal bay species are already threatened by various parasitic and viral diseases, indicating that they may be vulnerable to OsHV-1. A recent laboratory study indicates that the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) can experience infection and mortality from OsHV-1. Therefore, determining the susceptibility of economically and ecologically important Maryland species to OsHV-1 is an essential step in improving biosecurity and disease management to protect the sustainability of the aquaculture industry.

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