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Avian Botulism in Distressed Great Lakes Environments


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Description of Work A Department of Interior team, including U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS), is working to determine why botulism outbreaks, which have killed large numbers of fish and fish-eating birds, are occurring in the Great Lakes. This project will determine: 1) a quick assay test for the presence of the toxin , 2) how birds are exposed to the toxins, and 3) what factors combined trigger an outbreak. This information will be used to formulate management strategies. Botulism intoxication is caused by ingestion of neurotoxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Periodic outbreaks of type E botulism have resulted in die-offs of fish and fish-eating birds [...]

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Principal Investigator :
Stephen Riley
Associate Project Chief :
Jonathan M Sleeman
Lead Organization :
Great Lakes Science Center

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The ultimate goal of this project is to develop management actions to reduce fish and bird mortality during botulism outbreaks. If, as we suspect, recent increases in botulism outbreaks are due to the presence of large amounts of decomposing algae, the presence of which is due to the effects of dreissenid mussels, then this will represent a reduction in the negative effects of dreissenids on fish and bird populations in the Great Lakes. However, work funded by this template will gather data that will help reduce the number of beach closure days and will contribute to rapid responses for mock action plans but will not directly meet the measures listed above.

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projectStatusIn Progress

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