Aquatic Animal Health


Managing diseases to maintain good health in cultured organisms is one of the fundamental challenges faced by aquaculturists. Ensuring a high level of biosecurity with regard to infectious diseases is a primary objective for health managers and regulators. VIMS scientists have broad expertise in molluscan, finfish, and crustacean health as it relates to interactions with parasites and microbial pathogens as well environmental toxicants and carcinogens. We conduct research in many areas of pathobiology and disease ecology, at scales from molecules to populations and communities, and we provide graduate as well as undergraduate educational opportunities in all of these. The guidance we provide in our advisory roles informs aquaculture practices and shapes regulatory policies that support the growth of this important industry. 

Major Current Research Projects

Evolutionary ecology of oyster diseases (Dr. Carnegie)

Enhanced monitoring of harmful algal bloom dynamics and toxicity using real-time observations from co-deployed, automated sensors, and relationship with shellfish accumulation, health, and toxicity (Dr. Smith)

Etiology and ecology of epizootic shell disease, an emerging issue in the American lobster (Dr. Shields)

Ecology of human pathogenic Vibrios in shellfish (Dr. Reece with Dr. Audemard)

The impact of harmful algal bloom species on shellfish (Drs. Vogelbein and Reece)

Impact of host vaccination and selective breeding for disease resistance on pathogen epidemiology (Dr. Wargo)

Principle Investigators

Dr. Ryan Carnegie: Shellfish pathology and aquaculture health management

Dr. Kimberly Reece: Harmful algal blooms and human pathogenic Vibrios

Dr. Jeffrey Shields: Etiology and ecology of diseases in crustaceans

Dr. Juliette Smith: Harmful algal blooms

Dr. Wolfgang Vogelbein: Pathobiology of pollution/disease associations in fishes

Dr. Andrew Wargo: Ecology and evolution of infectious diseases