Evelyn Willmon — Fisheries


Evelyn Willmon started working at Dr. Cova Arias’s lab in the fall of 2013, and has been working with another pathogenic bacteria, Flavobacterium columnare, that causes Columnaris, a disease that also causes great losses for the aquaculture industry, especially in catfish. She was interested in learning more about other diseases in fish caused by pathogenic bacteria, and Dr. Arias suggested that she collaborate with one of her graduate students, Colin Cai, on working with Aeromonas hydrophila.

Aeromonas hydrophila is a gram-negative bacteria that is typically an opportunistic pathogen in fish that causes Motile Aeromonas Septicemia (MAS). In 2009, a new strain of A. hydrophila emerged in Alabama. This strain is especially deadly to catfish and severely affecting our catfish industry. Evelyn is looking at how this strain can be transmitted between individual ponds and farms. The seine nets used to harvest the fish can act as a vehicle of transmission, and bacteria can form biofilm on nets which makes them more resistant to disinfection. She is also looking at how well the different disinfection protocols work to help improve biosecurity in the catfish industry.

Project Title: Investigation of the attachment of Aeromonas hydrophila on aquaculture surfaces and the evaluation of disinfected protocols on its biofilm eradication
Dr. Cova Arias, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences