Myxobolus cerebralis establishment and spread: a graphical synthesis

Myxobolus cerebralis is the parasite causing whirling disease, which has dramatic ecological impacts due to its potential to cause high mortality in salmonids. The large-scale efforts, necessary to underpin an effective surveillance program, have practical and economic constraints. There is, hence, a clear need for models that can predict the parasite spread. Model development, however, often heavily depends on knowing influential variables and governing mechanisms. We have developed a graphical model for the establishment and spread of M. cerebralis by synthesizing experts’ opinion and empirical studies. First, we conducted a series of workshops with experts to identify variables believed to impact the establishment and spread of the parasite M. cerebralis and visualized their interactions via a directed acyclic graph. Then we refined the graph by incorporating empirical findings from the literature. The final graph’s nodes correspond to variables whose considerable impact on M. cerebralis establishment and spread is either supported by empirical data or confirmed by experts, and the graph’s directed edges represent direct causality or strong correlation. This graphical model facilitates communication and education of whirling disease and provides an empirically driven framework for constructing future models, especially Bayesian networks.

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Field Value
Short Name of Publication myxobolus-cerebralis-establishment-and-spread-a-graphical-synthesis
Deliverable Type
Program Catagory
Program Type Provincial
Author Ramazi, P. Fischer, S. M., Alexander, J., James, C. T., Paul, A. J. Greiner, R., and Lewis, M. A.
Periodical Title Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Year of Publication 2021
Publishing Organization
Month of Publication September
Periodical Volumes
Page Range
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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