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Early mortality syndrome in Great Lakes salmonines

January 1, 2005

Early mortality syndrome (EMS) is the termused to describe an embryonic mortality affectingthe offspring of salmonines (coho salmonOnco-rhynchus kisutch, Chinook salmonOncorhynchustshawytscha, steelhead [anadromous rainbow troutOncorhynchus mykiss], brown troutSalmo trutta,and lake trout,Salvelinus namaycush) in LakesMichigan and Ontario and, to a lesser extent, LakesHuron and Erie (Marcquenski and Brown 1997).Clinical signs of EMS include loss of equilibrium,a spiral swimming pattern, lethargy, hyperexcit-ability, hemorrhage, and death between hatch andfirst feeding. Early mortality syndrome was ob-served as far back as the 1960s in Great Lakessalmonines (Marcquenski and Brown 1997; Fitz-simons et al. 1999) and is of concern because mor-tality has been high in recent years (Wolgamoodet al. 2005; all 2005 citations are this issue). Stocksof Atlantic salmonSalmo salarfrom the FingerLakes and the Baltic Sea also exhibit a similarearly life stage mortality, called Cayuga syndrome(Fisher et al. 1995) and M74 (Bo ̈ rjeson and Norr-gren 1997), respectively. Low egg thiamine levelsand enhanced survival following thiamine treat-ments are common characteristics of EMS, CayugaSyndrome, and M74 (Fitzsimons et al. 1999). Be-cause the deficiency does not appear to be the re-sult of inadequate dietary thiamine (Fitzsimons and Brown 1998), investigators have hypothesizedthat the presence of some thiaminolytic factors inthe diet may reduce the bioavailability of thiamine,either by destroying it or converting it to an in-active analog or thiamine antagonist (Fisher et al.1996; Fitzsimons et al. 1999).

Citation Information

Publication Year 2005
Title Early mortality syndrome in Great Lakes salmonines
DOI 10.1577/H04-012.1
Authors Dale C. Honeyfield, Scott B. Brown, John D. Fitzsimons, Donald E. Tillitt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
Series Number
Index ID 70029071
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Columbia Environmental Research Center