Welcome to the 47th Annual IAAAM Conference hosted by the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. Thanks to Mark Swingle, Director of Research & Conservation at VAMSC, we will open the meeting with much anticipated reports on the effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on sea turtles and marine mammals by Keynote Speakers Dr. Cynthia Smith and Dr. Brian Stacy. The four days that follow will be filled with interesting and important presentations from your colleagues and fellow IAAAM members relating to our Constitutional Objective "to advance the art and science of aquatic animal medicine and health and promote the free exchange of knowledge in the interest of improving the health care and husbandry of aquatic animals held in human care and the proper conservation and management of aquatic animal resources in the wild." This year we have 103 oral presentations and 33 posters plus opportunities to exchange information at the pre-conference AQUAVET 40th anniversary meeting, our Conundrums session, Student Workshop, six excellent post-conference workshops and our many social gatherings.
Mark and VAMSC Executive Director, Lynn Clements, along with Sue Barco and a cadre of Virginia Aquarium staff and volunteers have all helped support the many conference events and venues including two timely workshops to be held on Thursday morning. Whether attending the workshops, signing up for one of their unique "Adventure" opportunities or just joining other attendees for our free afternoon at VAMSC on Tuesday, I hope that you all take advantage of their hospitality and enjoy learning about this unique environment and the work they do here.
It is traditional in this greeting to extent thanks to everyone who helped put the meeting together, but I also wanted to thank all of you for entrusting me with the responsibility of organizing the conference for you. I hope I got it right but I must admit that I had enormous support from our new meeting coordinators at Delaney Meeting and Event Management, especially Cindy Sherwood, who you will no doubt meet this week as she and her staff continue their work. President Lisa Murphy and Past President Chris Dold helped us accomplish the myriad tasks required over the past few months. Treasurer Tonya Clauss worked closely with the conference team along with webmaster extraordinaire John Jones and Communications Board Member Michael Briggs to set up new registration and payment links, email blasts, newsletters and meeting updates as planning progressed. Membership Board Member and ACZM diplomat Marty Haulena assumed the responsibility of ensuring that attendees will earn CE credits at this conference through his affiliation with the American College of Zoological Medicine. Kathleen Colegrove and Allison Tuttle organized another unique opportunity for our students to meet with IAAAM mentors at the Student Workshop on Sunday night along with managing the many tasks associated with the Student Travel Awards, the Student Auction, Student Presentations Awards and the Medway Endowment Scholarship Program.
The next page of this Program lists all of your hardworking IAAAM Board members along with the wonderful volunteers who agreed to help me as Session Chairs. They have earned my eternal gratitude. Be sure to let them all know how much you appreciate their time and effort in helping us to share information with each other. And don't forget to extend that same appreciation to our sponsors and exhibitors. The Delaney group led our efforts to garner over $46,000 in financial support to help defray the rising costs of holding our Conference. Please spend time with these supporters in the exhibit area during our breaks, talk about their products and your needs and experiences, and consider patronizing their businesses where you can.
Finally, thank you to all of our authors and presenters. You have taken the time to prepare your abstracts, power points and posters so that we may all share in your new findings, techniques and experiences for the benefit of the wonderful aquatic animals that we work with. Please remember the suggestion made by Past President Judy St. Leger in her conference welcome a few years ago to "take the next step and get aquatics information into the mainstream of veterinary medicine.... by expanding that abstract and creating a manuscript for peer review and publication."