Human Health and Aquaculture


Seafood safety is a growing concern with the rapidly expanding role of aquaculture in providing food for societies worldwide.  Ensuring that a healthy and safe product reaches the consumer is a primary goal of aquaculturists and managers alike. VIMS scientists conduct research to better understand the links between the microbiology and ecology of growing waters and human health. Studies range from developing better tools to accurately assess public health risks to characterizing the ecology, environmental tolerance and persistence of human pathogens and toxins found in the aquatic environment. 

Major Current Research Projects

Assessing health impacts of emerging harmful algal bloom species in Chesapeake Bay (Drs. Reece, Smith and Vogelbein)

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

Determining the influence of oyster health on levels of human-pathogenic Vibrios (Dr. Carnegie with Drs. Audemard and Reece)

A real-time antibody-based field assay to predict contaminant bioavailability in sediments (Drs. Unger, Kaattari, and Vogelbein)

Impact of Groundwater-Surface Water Dynamics on in situ Remediation Efficacy and Bioavailability of NAPL Contaminants (Drs. Unger and Beck)

Principle Investigators

Dr. Aaron Beck: Fate of inorganic aquatic pollutants

Dr. Ryan Carnegie: Shellfish pathology and aquaculture health management

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

Dr. Juliette Smith: Harmful algal blooms

Dr. Michael Unger: Bioavailability of aquatic pollutants

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