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W&M researchers receive grant to study blue crab pathogen

A team of William and Mary researchers, led by VIMS professor Dr. Jeff Shields, has earned a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to determine how climate change and other human impacts alter the transmission of the blue crab pathogen Hematodinium perezi.

Mortality due to infection by these single-celled parasites can generate annual economic losses up to $500,000 for the blue crab fishery within the salty bays of Virginia and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The research team also includes VIMS professors Dr. Kim Reece and Dr. Rom Lipcius, as well as Dr. Leah Shaw and Dr. Junping Shi of the College of William and Mary.

Graduate and undergraduate students will join them in the field and lab to examine disease dynamics in relation to filter feeding, cannibalism and fishing pressure. A key project deliverable will be to develop an interactive model to simulate the effects of disease on marine systems. The team will also engage K-12 teachers to leverage the pro...

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