Environmental Conditions Associated with Elevated Vibrio parahaemolyticus Concentrations in Great Bay Estuary, New Hampshire

PLoS One. 2016 May 4;11(5):e0155018. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155018. eCollection 2016.


Reports from state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the annual number of reported human vibriosis cases in New England has increased in the past decade. Concurrently, there has been a shift in both the spatial distribution and seasonal detection of Vibrio spp. throughout the region based on limited monitoring data. To determine environmental factors that may underlie these emerging conditions, this study focuses on a long-term database of Vibrio parahaemolyticus concentrations in oyster samples generated from data collected from the Great Bay Estuary, New Hampshire over a period of seven consecutive years. Oyster samples from two distinct sites were analyzed for V. parahaemolyticus abundance, noting significant relationships with various biotic and abiotic factors measured during the same period of study. We developed a predictive modeling tool capable of estimating the likelihood of V. parahaemolyticus presence in coastal New Hampshire oysters. Results show that the inclusion of chlorophyll a concentration to an empirical model otherwise employing only temperature and salinity variables, offers improved predictive capability for modeling the likelihood of V. parahaemolyticus in the Great Bay Estuary.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bays / microbiology*
  • Chlorophyll / metabolism
  • Chlorophyll A
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • New England
  • New Hampshire
  • Ostreidae / microbiology
  • Salinity
  • Seasons
  • Temperature
  • Vibrio Infections / microbiology
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus / isolation & purification*
  • Water Microbiology


  • Chlorophyll
  • Chlorophyll A

Grant support

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/) EPSCoR IIA-1330641; the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (http://nifa.usda.gov/grants) Hatch NH00574, NH00609 (accession 233555), and NH00625 (accession 1004199); and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration College Sea Grant program (http://seagrant.noaa.gov/) and New Hampshire Sea Grant program (http://seagrant.unh.edu/) grants R/CE-137, R/SSS-2, R/HCE- 3. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.