Fin-tastic Turnout

Published: December 21st, 2018

Category: Featured Content

UF Wildlife and Aquatic Veterinary Disease Laboratory (WAVDL) out in force at the International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health.

Image of a researcher speaking at the conference

Elizabeth Scherbatskoy giving her presentation

Ten members of the Wildlife and Aquatic Veterinary Disease Laboratory (WAVDL) recently made a splash at the 8th International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health (ISAAH) in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

With over 500 participants, the meeting hosted researchers from all over the world. Members of the WAVDL presented individual research projects in the form of 15 talks and 3 posters, covering emerging infectious diseases in ornamental and food fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and marine mammals. The WAVDL postdocs Drs. Thaís Rodrigues and Shamim Ahasan both presented their work: Dr. Rodrigues on two novel viruses found in marine mammals and Dr. Ahasan on the fecal microbiota of green turtles and an ulcerative cutaneous disease in the invasive lionfish. Dr. Preeyanan Sriwanayos, a third year PhD student in WAVDL, presented her dissertation research on ranaviruses in fish and amphibians in Thailand. Elizabeth Scherbatskoy, also a third year PhD student, presented her research on a novel picornavirus in clownfish, while Samantha Koda, a second year PhD student, gave two presentations on megalocytiviruses (one in ornamental fish species and one in food fish species). Jaime Haggard, an undergraduate researcher in the WAVDL, presented her work on percid herpesvirus 1 in walleye. Kutti Subramaniam, a research assistant professor in WAVDL, presented work on squamate erythrocytic iridoviruses and carp edema virus, while WAVDL lab manager Lowia Al-Hussinee gave a talk on the development of a quantitative PCR assay for the detection of tilapia lake virus. Finally, Dr. Thomas Waltzek, principal investigator of the WAVDL, gave talks on the host range of mimiviruses, another on a lake sturgeon herpesvirus, and one on the first fish bunyaviruses.

Image of a group of researchers standing outdoors

Speakers for the 2018 American Association of Fish Veterinarians Conference.
Top row: Kamonchai Imnoi, Preyanan Sriwanayos, Lowia Al-hussinee, Thomas Waltzek, and Shamim Ahasan.
Bottom row:Samantha Koda, Elizabeth Scherbatskoy, Jaime Haggard, and Thais Rodriguez.
Photographed by Kamonchai Imnoi.

Waltzek is the president of the American Association of Fish Veterinarians (AAFV) and served as the moderator and lead organizer of the AAFV’s full day Annual Symposium held concurrently with ISAAH. The AAFV symposium was standing room only and featured 14 preeminent veterinary speakers discussing the history and role of veterinarians in aquaculture in North America.

Image of the audience at the International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health

Conference attendees.

In addition to presenting their research, members of the WAVDL attended a variety of talks ranging from immunology to gill health to microbiomes, took part in continuing education classes at the Atlantic Veterinary College, and explored the spectacular views and flavors of Prince Edward Island. At the end of the conference, Elizabeth Scherbatskoy was honored with winning the best student presentation award. Elizabeth is on a roll this year, having won best student presentation awards at the UF CVM’s Phi Zeta day, the North Florida Marine Science Symposium, the Eastern Fish Health Workshop, and now ISAAH. This represents awards at local, state, regional, and international meetings.

The WAVDL would like to thank the American Fisheries Society Fish Health Section (AFS-FHS) and the UF Graduate Student Council for student travel support.

Collage of various researchers surrounding a card that reads: "2018 AAFV Conference; AAFV would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous donations and support; American Veterinary Medical Association; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Aquatics Fish Health