Modelling the Mass Mortality Event of Pinna nobilis

Giménez Romero, Alex (Supervisors: Manuel A. Matias and Iris E. Hendriks)
Master Thesis (2020)

Since the early Autumn of 2016 a mass mortality event is devastating the populations of fan
mussels, Pinna nobilis, in the Mediterranean Sea, where it is an endemic species. This ecological
disaster is linked to a Haplosporodian endoparasite, Haplosporodium pinnae, being the cause of
an epidemic that is about to extinguish one of the largest bivalves of the world. The parasite
spreads by surface currents and the disease expression is closely related to temperatures above
13.5 ºC and to a salinity range between 36.5 − 39.7 psu. The aim of this project is to study the
epidemic by building mathematical and computational models. In particular, we’ll use classical
compartmental models of differential equations as well as stochastic models described by a master equation. Therefore, we propose a first step for the mathematical modelling of the mass mortality event taking place in the Mediterranean Sea as a basis for future developments.

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