Crassostrea virginica


Common NameEastern Oyster
Number of Contigs714
Number of ESTs6,146
Oysters (Crassostrea virginica and Crassostrea gigas) and their accompanying reef structure are a vital component of benthic communities in estuarine systems that a) provide physical substrates for colonization and aggregation, and b) filter and process particulates and nutrients, which can impact water quality, productivity and plankton composition. Historically, oysters have been a viable economic resource from both the harvesting of natural populations and as a representative of one of the most heavily aquacultured organisms in the world. These species are constantly under threat from both parasitic infection resulting in diseases such as MSX and Dermo, or from infectious diseases in which the etiology still remains somewhat of a mystery, such as juvenile oyster disease (JOD) or “summer mortality”. In addition, estuarine sediments are capable of acting as a repository for environmental contaminants, making oysters particularly susceptible to contaminant exposure due to their proximity to sediments, sessile nature and potential for high filtration activity. Because of their important role in estuarine ecosytems, oyster are an important indicator species of estuarine health and a potentially valuable model for evaluating the relationship between ecosystems and human activities.