Submitted to: American Fisheries Society Book Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/12/2013
Publication Date: 3/23/2015
Citation: Terhune, J.S., Beck, B.H. 2015. Common diseases of black bass: implications for conservation and management. In: Tringali, M.D., Long, J.M., Birdsong, T.W., Allen, M.S., editors. Black Bass Diversity: Multidisciplinary Science for Conservation. Bethesda, MD: American Fisheries Society. p. 333-350. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Disease issues relevant to black bass populations arise from infectious as well as noninfectious etiologies. While disease outbreaks can occur via direct means, as is the case with primary pathogens, mortality events can also be linked to factors that disrupt the delicate balance between the environment, host, and pathogen. Indeed, black bass are found in a variety of geographies and habitats, and irrespective of their locale, fish are subject to environmental fluctuations such as changes in dissolved oxygen, temperature, water quality, as well as physical affronts such as handling and confinement. These and other associated stressors can disrupt homeostasis and result in physiologic perturbations that are central to the pathophysiology of disease in black bass. Many pathogens that affect black bass are ubiquitous and opportunistic, and commonly have limited impacts on populations as a whole unless a dysregulation of environmental conditions occurs that predispose fish to disease or exacerbate disease development. Examples include common aquatic bacterial pathogens (e.g. Aeromonas sp. and Flavobacterium columnare), fungal, and parasitic infections, especially commensal protozoan parasites. In recent years, viral pathogens have been linked to large-scale fish mortalities in extensive, natural habitats as well as managed recreational impoundments. The underlying mechanisms behind these outbreaks remain largely undefined, yet significant concerns regarding biosecurity practices have surfaced due to the tremendous economic impacts that black bass fisheries support. Additionally, some grossly obvious phenotypic alterations of unknown etiologies (e.g. neoplasms and hyperpigmentation) may be indicative of environmental concerns that warrant further exploration.