Krishna Thakur – ECD – Norway

Participation in the first global conference in Aquatic Animal Epidemiology (AquaEpi I-2016), Oslo, Norway

I am a post-doctoral research fellow with the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) Program in Aquatic Epidemiology at UPEI. I received an Early Career Development Award from CERC that financially supported my participation in the first global conference in Aquatic Animal Epidemiology in Oslo, Norwaglobal-conference-aquatic-epidemology-norway-2016y, from September 20-22, 2016.

The AquaEpi I conference was organized by the International Society of Aquatic Animal Epidemiology (ISAAE) and was attended by nearly 120 researchers (from leading scientists to research students), from around the globe, working on various aspects of aquatic animal epidemiology. The conference featured six keynote speakers who highlighted issues ranging from food security, zoonosis, climate change, big data, and next generation surveillance to collaboration between epidemiologists and the industry. The keynote talks provided a good overview of the present state of aquatic epidemiology research, some of the challenges it faces, and the potential and opportunities to expand our knowledge in the field.

The oral sessions included topics on molecular epidemiology, risk analysis, spatial and temporal patterns in prevalence and risk mapping, diagnostic misclassification, and surveillance, to name a few. More than three dozen papers were presented and discussed in these sessions. The conference also included a poster session and provided sufficient time between sessions for personal interactions, socializing, and building professional networks. Some of the oral and poster presentations were thought provoking and provided novel insights on the use of alternate data sources and recently developed epidemiological tools in aquaculture research.

I had the opportunity to discuss my work on the suitability of remotely-sensed water temperature data in aquaculture research, as an oral presentation, and received some important feedback. In addition, I also presented a poster on Risk factors associated with soft-shelled lobsters in southwestern Nova Scotia, which was awarded first prize at the conference.

Overall, attending and presenting at AquaEpi I was an interesting and educational experience, and I am thankful to CERC for the opportunity provided by the Early Career Development Award.