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Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Research Programs

The mission of the Department of Aquatic Health Sciences is to identify and detect toxicological, pathobiological, biochemical agents and other environmental and ecological stressors in aquatic sytems, with a focus on Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, which affect the health of aquatic organisms and surrounding human populations.

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Aquatic Toxinology

Research within this program focuses on the production, persistence, detoxification, food-web transfer, and impact of natural toxins synthesized by microorganisms in freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Juliette Smith

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Crustacean Diseases

This program focuses on the epidemiology, etiology, ecology and pathology of diseases affecting crustaceans, with an emphasis on crabs and lobsters

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jeffrey Shields

1
Ecotoxicology and Risk Assessment

The Ecotoxicology program investigates contaminants in the biosphere and their effects on constituents of the biosphere, including humans. Risk Assessment research investigates the probability of an adverse effect of a contaminant to humans or the environment.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Newman 

2
Environmental Chemistry

Research in environmental chemistry addresses the sources, transport, fate, bioavailability and impacts of contaminants in ecosystems.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Rob Hale, Dr. Drew Luellen, Dr. Michael Unger

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Evolutionary and Ecological Medicine

The Evolutionary and Ecological Medicine lab focuses on utilizing evolutionary and ecological theory to guide disease management.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Andrew Wargo

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Histopathology

Investigations into abnormalities in structure and function at the cellular and organismal level are conducted.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Wolfgang Vogelbein

2
Marine and Aquaculture Molecular Genetics

Molecular ecology and genetic studies of aquaculture species, HABs and aquatic pathogens.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Kimberly Reece

1
Molluscan Health

The VIMS Shellfish Pathology Laboratory studies the pathology and parasitology of species like oysters and clams, with management of shellfish health in aquaculture and the wild a core focus.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ryan Carnegie