IAAAM 2009
Craig A. Harms

Welcome to the 40th Annual Conference of the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine. Our hosts Les Dalton and Steve Osborn of SeaWorld San Antonio have been preparing diligently for our arrival since before last year’s meeting, and they are eager to make this a productive, informative, fun-filled, and memorable conference. In this year of shrinking and disappearing travel budgets it was encouraging to see such a strong turnout of abstract submissions for the scientific program. We have 103 abstracts in the proceedings, comprised of 24 poster and 79 oral presentations, including 34 by students of various stripes (undergraduate, graduate, veterinary and post-doctoral students, and interns and residents). Although we continue as group to incline strongly towards marine mammal content, the presentation line-up also includes marine and freshwater invertebrates, teleost and elasmobranch fishes, amphibians, sea and freshwater turtles, aquatic birds and freshwater mammals, making the IAAAM conference a taxonomically well rounded forum for advancing the broad discipline of aquatic animal medicine.

In addition to the formal poster session with refreshments, we have arranged for expanded poster viewing this year. You can view posters at your leisure throughout most of the meeting, and then discuss those of particular interest to you with the presenter during the scheduled session. Continuing the initiative of Tom Reidarson last year, our proceedings will be hosted on line by the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), with abstracts available for preview prior to the meeting. As of this writing, the archived proceedings are nearly complete on the VIN web site, linked from the IAAAM web site, and should be finalized by the time of the meeting. These include the year and page numbers corresponding to the print proceedings, allowing for both traditional and electronic citation options. Electronic hosting reduces our paper consumption and increases accessibility to and relevance of our presenters’ contributions. Print proceedings continue to be available for those of us more comfortable with a tangible document, as an optional item in the registration and with a print on demand option after the meeting so we no longer clutter the office of our Secretary with unsold proceedings. The American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM) is again sponsoring our Continuing Education credits, saving us considerable effort and some expense that would otherwise be required.

Many thanks are due to our session chairs, Eric Jensen (Applied Research), Michael Stoskopf (Therapeutics and Toxicology), Steve Smith (Management), Rhonda Patterson (Immunology), Pam Govett and Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf (Posters), Stephanie Venn-Watson (Epidemiology), Beth Nolan (Case Reports), Cynthia Smith (Imaging), Stéphane Lair (Infectious and Parasitic Diseases), and Carmen Colitz (Ophthalmology). Their scrutiny and dedication in the reviewing and editing of abstracts were tremendously helpful in improving the quality of the proceedings, and their facilitation of the sessions is likewise much appreciated. Workshop coordinators have enhanced the opportunities for information exchange and acquisition before, during and after the main scientific sessions: Judy St. Leger (C.L. Davis Marine Species Histopathology Workshop), Jodie Sherrill and Greg Lewbart (ACZM Ultrashort Board Review Course), Mike Walsh (An Evening with Problem Solvers), Sarah Poynton and Ashley Linton (Student Workshop), Mike Briggs (Conundrums), and Carmen Colitz (Aquatic Animal Ophthalmology Workshop).

My year as Program Chair has deepened my appreciation for previous Program Chairs immensely. I am grateful to all 39 of them for their efforts in building and maintaining this organization, and their collective mentorship of us all. I am particularly appreciative of those with whom I was fortunate to serve on the Executive Board: Nina Young, Laurie Gage, Rhonda Patterson, Bill Van Bonn, Don Stremme, and Tom Reidarson. I have followed their examples as best I could. President Tom Reidarson and Immediate Past President Don Stremme have been particularly helpful with support, advice, and proceedings templates over the past year. I also appreciate the help of Chris Butler in helping to keep my real job functional and Erika Nilson for chipping in to manage miscellaneous challenges that emerged down the home stretch.

In addition to our President and Immediate Past President, we are fortunate to have a diligent and dynamic Executive Board carrying out the functions of IAAAM in myriad ways, often unseen and with little recognition: Lisa Mazzaro (Secretary), Julius Tepper (Treasurer), Judy St. Leger (Membership, with able assistance from Pacifique Rugira), Fiona Brook (Education), and John Jones (Communications). Committee chairs have also rendered invaluable service to the organization along with their committee members: Lisa Murphy (Student Liaison Committee), Rhonda Patterson (Nominations and Awards Committee), Sam Dover (Site Selection Committee), and Tracy Romano (Student Endowment Oversight Committee). In addition, although we have decided to phase out our organizational involvement with the AVMA committees, Roy Yanong (Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee), Kathleen Hughes Hartman (Food Safety Advisory Committee; Renate Reimschussel alternate), and Cindy Driscoll (Committee on Environmental Issues) have served or continue to serve out their terms as IAAAM representatives. Don Abt has served as a senior advisor on parliamentary and constitutional issues.

Our Past Presidents, Honorary Life Members and recipients of the Awards for Excellence are listed in the proceedings and conference pamphlet. This year we lost someone who was both an Honorary Life Member and a recipient of the Award for Excellence in Aquatic Medicine. Deke Beusse was a mentor and friend to many of us, and a fixture at this meeting. He will be sorely missed. This is the first year to list previous recipients of the Awards for Excellence in the conference literature, and you will notice the list goes back only as far as 1993. I apologize to pre-1993 recipients, but that is as far back as I could trace the awards records, and thought it better to honor those we could at the hazard of slighting others. Please help us fill in previous years if you have records of those awards. On another front of honoring individuals instrumental in developing the field of aquatic animal medicine, while simultaneously building for the future by investing in our younger colleagues, the Medway Endowment is now a reality. The Medway Endowment for student support honors William Medway, Founding Member, Honorary Life Member, Past President, and obviously the person for whom the William Medway Award for Excellence in Teaching is named. Thanks to Treasurer Julius Tepper for working out the surprisingly intricate accounting details required to establish the endowment properly, Board Member Judy St. Leger who with Erika Nilson spearheaded the fundraising drive to meet the match, all of you who contributed, and most of all to Jay Hyman and Jay Sweeney for their extraordinarily generous donations establishing the match that the membership worked to meet. The Medway Endowment is a fund that can continue to grow, providing a solid basis for ensuring active participation by talented students at our annual meeting and enriching the field of aquatic animal medicine well into the future.

 Craig Harms

Craig Harms
Program Chair and IAAAM President-Elect

Speaker Information
(click the speaker's name to view other papers and abstracts submitted by this speaker)

Craig A. Harms
Environmental Medicine Consortium and Department of Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, North Carolina State University
Morehead City, NC, USA


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