Around the World in 24 days…

And so the great Sea Star round the world expedition begins…

Ian is off today on a 24 day trip covering 4 continents (well, including North America) and multiple cities to learn about wasting disease and spread the word on our work. Tomorrow Ian will visit China and the research group of collaborator Prof. Qiang Xu at the Chinese Institute of Oceanology, Qingdao, Shandong, where he’ll give a seminar in the morning, meet with habitat restoration and molecular bioscience researchers to discuss the ongoing wasting disease event that is occurring in the Northern Yellow Sea. Following China, Ian will travel to Australia to see his family for a week before traveling to Norway to be an “opponent” on a PhD defense. Then it’s onto Ajaccio, Corsica, for the International Parvovirus Workshop 2016, where he will present recent research about the sea star associated densovirus (which is within the Parvoviruses), before heading home. He’ll be blogging updates on this trip as he goes along.

Worldtrip2016

 

The journey begins with a 4 hr bus ride on Cornell’s Campus to Campus bus. While Ithaca has a pretty nice airport, we currently dont have flights to New York City, and fares out of Ithaca tend to be high. Hence, it works out much less expensive to fly out of New York City and catch the bus down. But it does mean a long long journey… Ian is scheduled to be in transit for a whopping 26 hrs this leg.

While Ian travels, folks in the lab are ramping up for summer work. Elliot recently returned from the Pacific Northwest with several good specimens for challenge experiments, scheduled for a few weeks from now. At the moment he’s working on bacterial 16S rRNA sequence libraries prepared from sea stars around the world, which is part of his Master’s work. The aim here is to understand how phylogeny of sea stars relates to their microbiome – in other words, do similar sea star species have similar microbiomes? Our previous work has identified that sea stars have a remarkably low diversity of associated bacteria, and we think that these change in abundance but not composition during disease progression. Hence, Elliot’s work provides an important reference for our future efforts looking at disease progression during experimental challenge.

The lab said a farewell to seniors Chaunte and Victor, who graduated last weekend… congratulations!!! This summer, Jacob is re-joining the lab after a semester at sea, and Mitch will be continuing in the lab. A productive summer ahead!

Stay tuned for updates from the road…

 


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