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Understanding Emerging Marine Diseases

US - The 9th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium seeks to address marine diseases on the rise in local waters.

The 9th Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium will be held on August 10-11, 2010 and will discuss "New Approaches to Understanding Emerging Marine Diseases: From Science to Management" at the University of Rhode Island.

The symposium follows the conclusion of a $3 million New England Lobster Research Initiative that looked into the causes of lobster shell disease and the contributing factors that make lobsters vulnerable to the disease.

Increasingly, lobsters with shell disease have been found off the coast of New England. Over the past several years, 30 per cent of lobsters caught have had shell disease.

There is no mistaking a lobster with shell disease - there are black spots on its shell, and the worst cases appear to have shells that are rotting away, in some cases killing the lobster through secondary infection or as a result of other stresses.

The initiative funded scientists from 16 institutions who spent three years studying shell disease. Experts in crustacean endocrinology, genetics, veterinary medicine, behaviour, microbiology, lobster biology, chemistry, environmental science, and epidemiology worked together with fishermen and resource managers to uncover the dynamics of shell disease.

They will present their findings, and the implications for dealing with shell disease and other marine diseases, at the Baird Symposium at URI's Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences.

The symposium is free to attend, including meals, but registration is required. For more information or to register, visit the website at www.seagrant.gso.uri.edu/baird/2010_diseases.html.

the Fish Site Editor

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