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The Conceptual Approach to Lobster Shell Disease Revisited

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Abstract A shell disease epizootic is described for the American clawed lobster (Homarus americanus) populations in southern New England. This paper presents a conceptual model for examination of shell disease and presents evidence to support three hypotheses. Hypothesis one proposes that epizootic shell disease prevalence has increased in wild lobster populations; hypothesis two proposes that there are population-level effects of shell disease and hypothesis three explores the relationship between shell disease, and environmental and anthropogenic disturbances. This conceptual model links environmental stressors to physiological upsets and disease to population level impacts and can serve as a general model of disease in the marine environment.

Affiliations: 1: a (KMC) University of Rhode Island, Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science, Kingston, Rhode Island 02874, U.S.A. (corresponding author:; ; 2: b (JRF) Purchase College, State University of New York, Natural Sciences, Purchase, New York 10577, U.S.A. (; ; 3: c (TA) Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Environmental Management, Jamestown, Rhode Island 02835, U.S.A. (; ; 4: d (DFL) Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc., Millstone Environmental Laboratory, P.O. Box 128, Waterford, Connecticut 06385, U.S.A. (


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