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Jared Hanselman

Geostatistical Analysis of DNA Damage in Eastern Oyster Spermatozoa in Lavaca Bay, Texas

Jared Hanselman1, Wesley Bissett Jr.2

1CVM Class of 2011, 2Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

Jared Hanselman

Objective – The objective of this study was to evaluate reproductive health in the Lavaca Bay ecosystem one year after completion of the USEPA-required remedial measures.

Animals or Sample Population – A minimum of ten oysters per reef were collected from ten oyster reefs in Lavaca Bay.

Procedure – Reproductive health was evaluated by assessing DNA damage in oyster spermatozoa with single cell gel electrophoresis (Comet Assay). Bayesian geostatistical methods were used to compare Comet assay results through comparison of model fit provided by a base model with random effects and an extended model containing random effects and a spatial term.

Results – The Comet Assay parameters, Olive tail moment, tail length, and percentage of DNA in the tail were fit best with the extended model indicating the presence of important spatial processes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance – Results indicated that locational risks for increased DNA damage in oyster spermatozoa were elevated in close proximity to industrial facilities.  The clinical implications of compromised reproduction are a potential decrease in population sizes, the possibility of other marine species being affected similar to that of oysters, which would affect sport fishermen, commercial fishermen, crabbers, and shrimpers.