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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:00am - 11:20am
Microbiome Studies To Inform Aquatic Animal Health Decision Making

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AUTHORS: William Van Bonn, DVM*, Shedd Aquarium

ABSTRACT: Contemporary scientific methods of microbiome studies have enabled an enormous advancement in our understanding of the interrelationships between bacteria, archaea, viruses, eukaryotes and the abiotic elements of their environments. Studies of human built environments have revealed profound impacts of the microbial communities associated with those environments on people inhabiting them. The human body associated microbiome is now recognized to be directly correlated with numerous human health conditions. Asthma, allergies, autoimmune diseases, obesity, and even several behavioral disorders may have disturbances of the ‘native type’ microbiome as their root cause. Aquatic environments are unique. Inhabitants of aquatic habitats are exposed to unique microbes and though routes often different than terrestrial habitats. Aquaria are uniquely valuable for conducting investigations into aquatic microbiomes. High quality, standardized metadata are routinely collected and numerous environmental parameter values are easily manipulated. This enables rigorous hypothesis testing into the impact of environmental change on the microbial communities within. Our Aquarium Microbiome Project www.aquariummicrobiomeproject.org explores unique aquatic microbiomes and enables a comparison between native (unintentionally influenced) and managed (intentionally influenced) aquatic systems. The overall aim of the project is to increase the understanding of the roles that environmental microbes play in promoting aquatic animal health and to identify actions under the control of aquarium personnel that ensure optimum conditions are provided. A secondary aim of this project is to provide information that will positively contribute to decisions about managing all types of aquatic systems to optimize health.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST