Sample Abstract

Submit prior to May 31, 2018 – Deadline extended to June 15th.

Insert below items #1-6 as described in the abstract instructions and as illustrated in the sample abstract. Submit separate documents for additional abstracts.

Fish Deformities in the St. Lucie Estuary System

Andrew S Kane1,2*, David Reese3 and Joan A Browder4

1 Department of Environmental and Global Health, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL USA
2 Aquatic Pathobiology Laboratory, Emerging Pathogens Institute, 2055 Mowry Road, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 USA
3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, 2015 SW 16 Avenue, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610 USA
4 NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, Florida 33149 USA

The St. Lucie Estuary, located in Southeast Florida, is threatened by increasing residential and commercial development, urban drainage projects, industry and agriculture. Effects of these anthropogenic changes are also associated with the distribution, quality, and volume of freshwater entering the estuary. This study reports observations of physical deformities from fish collected in the St. Lucie River and adjacent waterways from 2006 to 2008. Thirty-four fish with deformities were digitally photographed and radiographed to generate observational data. Eleven species of fish, representing 7 taxonomic families, were observed; black margate and pinfish were the two most common species. Deformities primarily included missing or deformed dorsal fin spines or pyterygiophores, with or without concave soft tissue defects along the dorsal surface. The prevalence of these anomalies in the field-sampled population in the St. Lucie system was 0.18%. This is the first study to report multiple fish species with similar, dorsal hard structure deformities from a single locale. These deformities may be genetic, developmental, and/or associated with a variety of other etiologies including trauma, parasites, infection or environmental chemical exposure. There is no direct evidence, however, making such a link at this time. A website has been developed to provide details of the study for other investigators and to allow input from complimentary disciplines []. Ongoing studies are focusing on histopathology, as well as examination of water and sediment data to explore relationships between deformities within the different fish species and various environmental stress agents.

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