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Vibrio-MV: Habitate und Diversität potentiell pathogener Vibrionen an der Ostseeküste von Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Vibrionen vor M-V)

01.04.2015 - 31.07.2017
Project manager:
Günter Jost
Forschungsstiftung Ostsee

Bacteria of the genus Vibrio are ubiquitous members of marine ecosystems. They occur in coastal,
estuarine and brackish waters as well as sediments, often in association with higher organisms.
Increased water temperatures lead to both, increased population densities of Vibrio spp. and the
occurrence of potential pathogenic Vibrio species, which cause infections in (immunodeficient)
humans. An infection with V. vulnificus, for instance, can result in sepsis with potential fatality. In
recent years, multiple cases of severe wound infection and fatalities caused by V. vulnificus were
reported in the Baltic Sea area. Due to numerous media reports and resulting issues for the tourism
industry, Vibrio spp. are now considered a serious problem in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Within the
scope of a monitoring program of the state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, high Vibrio abundances were detected, in particular in the Bay of Greifswald (Lubmin) and at the coast of the adjacent island
Usedom (Karlshagen). Presumably, infections caused by members of the genus Vibrio will increase
further in the light of climate change.
Our study aims at exploring the reservoirs and diversity of Vibrio populations, focusing on the species
V. vulnificus. On the basis of this, we will be able to profoundly assess the potential risks for the
bathers in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The diversity investigations will encompass the habitats (1)
sediment, water and seston at four sites along the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in different
seasons and (2) migrating fish (herring, cod) in comparison to sedentary fish (eelpout, goby), as well
as mussels, representing the filter feeders.
Within the project we will apply efficient, cutting-edge and complementary methods from the field of
classical and molecular microbiology. For instance, comparative genetic analyses via high-throughput
sequencing will provide detailed information on the diversity of the Vibrio populations. Such a
comprehensive collection of data about Vibrio populations at the southern Baltic coast and potential
sources of infection, in particular emanating from V. vulnificus, will represent a qualified foundation for
decision makers in dealing with this group of bacteria.


  • Möller, L., B. Kreikemeyer, G. Gerdts, G. Jost and M. Labrenz (2021). Fish as a winter reservoir for vibrio spp. In the southern baltic sea coast. J. Mar. Syst. 221: 103574, doi: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2021.103574