Parasites and pathologies of oysters and mussels were sampled yearly from 1995 to 2010 from the Gulf of Maine to Alaska and the Great Lakes as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Status and Trends Mussel Watch Program. Sentinel bivalves included mytilid mussels, dreissenid mussels, and oysters. This comprehensive dataset provides a unique opportunity to examine long-term temporal dynamics of parasites, pathologies, and physiological indices of these sentinel bivalves. Temporal dynamics fell into a few clear categories. Significant differences between years occurred commonly for parasites, pathologies, and physiological indices; the absence of significant change over time was more noteworthy. In a few cases, these trends were characterized by multiyear increases or decreases in value within the time series. Such behavior might be produced by a multiyear cycle and, in fact, such behavior was much more common along the southern East Coast, the Gulf Coast, and Southern California where a relatively short cycle, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), is well documented. More interestingly, for a number of parasites, pathologies, and physiological indices, significant trends existed across the time series. These trends substantively exceed the time span of climate cycles influencing these regions such as ENSO and the North Atlantic Oscillation. A few of these longer term coherent trends were continental in scale, being observed across sentinel taxa and multiple coasts. Continental scale trends were restricted to the physiological indices such as length. Regional trends were important for a subset of parasites, pathologies, and physiological indices. In general, the regional trends were produced by single-celled proliferating parasites such as Perkinsus marinus, the major pathologies, and certain physiological indices. The multicellular eukaryotes and the gregarines often showed significant year-to-year changes without trend. Temporal trends were prominently represented by oyster parasites on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and by mytilid parasites on the West Coast. Pathologies by contrast had strong temporal signals in northeastern mytilids.
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