Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic protozoan parasite that has a worldwide distribution. The prevalence of T. gondii infection in southern sea otters approaches 80% in some areas of the California coast, and causes significant sea otter mortality. Sea otters likely acquire the infection by ingestion of oocysts that are transported to the sea in watersheds. The objective of this study was to measure the acquisition, concentration, and retention of T. gondii oocysts by marine snails upon which sea otters prey. Trochid marine snails were experimentally exposed to T. gondii oocysts and microscopy was used to enumerate oocysts in tissue samples and feces from the exposed snails. The snails acquired oocysts, concentrated them, and retained them for up to ten days post-exposure. No naturally-acquired oocysts were detected in field-collected snails. These results suggest that marine snails might play an important role in the transmission of T. gondii to sea otters.
|Commitee:||Conrad, Patricia, Shapiro, Karen|
|School:||University of California, Davis|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biology, Ecology, Parasitology|
|Keywords:||Kelp, Oocyst, Otter, Parasite, Snail, Toxoplasma|
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