Our Alaskan sea stars continue to do ok. They have been eating well, and our ammonium levels are now down below the critical threshold where it is toxic, so we forge on with plans to perform experiments next week. Unfortunately, one of our larger stars started to show signs of extreme stress early Thurs- the animal had exuded part of its pyloric caeca through an injury experienced during the FedEx shipment, and sadly by Friday morning it had dropped a leg. We made the hard decision to move it to the ICU tank, unfortunately we don’t expect it to make it.
On Friday morning we received a shipment of healthy looking animals from Lesanna Lahner of the seattle aquarium. Lesanna had noted these animals had disease signs about 2 weeks ago, but at the moment they looked ok.
We received these animals since we will use them for inoculation trials of the Alaskan sea stars. But first we needed to make sure that they indeed were still infected with SSaDV. After a very quick round of qpcr, the result was clear; even though these animals had recovered somewhat, they were all infected with SSaDV. We are housing these in a separate room with separate everything as a quarantine measure.
On Monday we will start our major experiment to test how the microbiome changes during infection, and how the animals respond to infection on a transcriptional level.