Presenting Author Name/s

Brandon Hamel

Faculty Advisor

David T. Gauthier

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Biology

Description/Abstract

The Rio Grande Silvery Minnow (Hybognathus amarus) is a critically endangered species native to the southwestern United States. Since the 1990s its population has declined dramatically due to extensive human alteration of the Rio Grande for agriculture and civil development. This has resulted in habitat degradation and impedance to proper migration, resulting in the minnow now occupying only 5% of its historical range. An active restocking and recovery program is underway through the US Fish and Wildlife Service involving breeding programs at three New Mexico sites. In the summer of 2012, aquaculture specimens began exhibiting an unusual spinning behavior and chronic, low level mortalities. An initial investigation of water and habitat quality revealed no abnormalities. Screening tests for pathogenic microbes and viruses yielded only negative results and necropsies of affected fish showed no obvious infectious agents or pathology. As the mysterious symptoms persisted, worries grew about the viability of these fish for restocking purposes. A second investigation performed in 2013 revealed a histozoic (tissue-dwelling) amoebic infection restricted to connective tissues, particularly in the cranial floor. As brain dwelling organisms are known to cause disease in both fish and humans, identification of this possible pathogen became a priority. This project sought to identify this organism using deep DNA sequencing with the Illumina MiSeq platform and bioinformatics techniques.

Session Title

Biological Sciences 1 Presentations

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Conference Room 1310

Start Date

3-2-2018 9:00 AM

End Date

3-2-2018 10:00 AM

Full Text of Presentation

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Included in

Biology Commons

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Feb 3rd, 9:00 AM Feb 3rd, 10:00 AM

Digging Out the Devils: Molecular Examination of Amoeba-like Cells from Cranial Tissue of the Endangered Rio Grande Silvery Minnow

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Conference Room 1310

The Rio Grande Silvery Minnow (Hybognathus amarus) is a critically endangered species native to the southwestern United States. Since the 1990s its population has declined dramatically due to extensive human alteration of the Rio Grande for agriculture and civil development. This has resulted in habitat degradation and impedance to proper migration, resulting in the minnow now occupying only 5% of its historical range. An active restocking and recovery program is underway through the US Fish and Wildlife Service involving breeding programs at three New Mexico sites. In the summer of 2012, aquaculture specimens began exhibiting an unusual spinning behavior and chronic, low level mortalities. An initial investigation of water and habitat quality revealed no abnormalities. Screening tests for pathogenic microbes and viruses yielded only negative results and necropsies of affected fish showed no obvious infectious agents or pathology. As the mysterious symptoms persisted, worries grew about the viability of these fish for restocking purposes. A second investigation performed in 2013 revealed a histozoic (tissue-dwelling) amoebic infection restricted to connective tissues, particularly in the cranial floor. As brain dwelling organisms are known to cause disease in both fish and humans, identification of this possible pathogen became a priority. This project sought to identify this organism using deep DNA sequencing with the Illumina MiSeq platform and bioinformatics techniques.