Aquatic Health Program

Pathogens & Diseases

The presence of disease in wild fish populations is a significant health indicator because it represents the cumulative effects of multiple stressors and variables in the aquatic environment that are mostly unknown or poorly defined. We employ a comprehensive approach of measuringand linking the effects of multiple stressors (disease, nutrition, and exposure to contaminants - biomarkers) that could profoundly impact fundamental fish functions such as growth, reproduction, and recruitment. Molecular methods such as gene sequencing (DNA barcoding), PCR, qPCR, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and conventional microbiological techniques are some of the tools that we employ to determine the identity, presence, abundance, and anatomic localization of pathogens.

Current Projects:

  • Fall X2 Fish Health Study: Contrasts in health indices, growth, and reproductive fitness of delta smelt and other pelagic fishes rearing in the low salinity zone and Cache Slough regions
  • Myxosporean infections in yellowfin goby from Suisun Marsh, San Francisco Bay Estuary
  • Initial trials on the effects of temperature on the carrier state of captive delta smelt populations with Mycobacterium spp.

Photo: Dolores V. Baxa, Associate Project Scientist

Dolores V. Baxa, Associate Project Scientist

Infectious diseases among cultured and wild fish populations.
Key interplay between infectious diseases and toxicants and their impacts to fish health in the aquatic environment.