8th Aquatic Virus Workshop

Well, that was a lot of information in a short time! 45 talks, 23 posters, 3 days – all useful and interesting information! Ian presented a talk on recent historical analysis and RNA viruses associated with SSWD at the meeting, which was a little different for most attendees. The AVW was established in 1998 as the Algal Virus Workshop, then in 2004 changed to the Aquatic Virus Workshop to increase attendance – and usually metazoan viruses aren’t covered. However, since 2013 Ian has presented his work since there are few fora for viruses of non-commercially important invertebrates.

Left: Ian presenting on historical sea star work. Right – Mya Breitbart talking about another familiar group of viruses, the CRESS-DNA viruses

There were so many awesome talks to learn from. Steve Wilhelm gave an overview of biogeochemical impacts of viral infection in marine and freshwater systems. Mya Breitbart gave an awesome talk covering CRESS-DNA viruses and iron-phage biogeochemistry. This morning saw talks by Chantal Abergel about mimi-, pandora- and pithoviruses. It’s rather interesting to see how the field has changed over the last 16 years since Ian’s first AVW appearance (in Galway 2000). Even though he doesn’t specifically work on virioplankton or viruses of microbes any longer, it has given him a lot of interesting ideas about phage and other eukaryotic algal viruses and their potential roles in animal disease.

Last night was the official conference dinner, held at Citadel Hill; this is the institution home to the Hardy Continuous Plankton Counter, which was used to collect information about zooplankton community composition for many years across the North Atlantic. At the workshop there was one of these – interesting again to see one up-close!

The Hardy Continuous Plankton Counter, which is towed behind commercial boats, and collects zooplankton continuously on a roll of plankton net.

So it is a wrap from Plymouth! Interesting place with a long maritime history.

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