VIMS cracks the case of blue crab parasite

Marine researchers have spent 15 years trying to nail down the life cycle of a single-celled parasite fatal to blue crabs. On Thursday, they announced they cracked the case. “Describing the entire life cycle of the Hematodinium was an important breakthrough for us,” said Jeff Shields at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in Gloucester Point. “Having all stages in culture means we can now really start picking the life cycle apart to learn what the organism does and how it functions.” Armed with this new knowledge, researchers hope to stem infections that are a growing concern to wild fisheries and aquaculture operations. The parasite is harmless to people,0,394412.story