Scientific expertise in aquatic animal health within the USGS spans over eight science centers across the nation, with researchers working on all aspects of aquatic animal diseases.
The Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC) in Washington State has specialized facilities for safely conducting infectious disease trials in freshwater and marine fish, as well as an aquatic high containment laboratory for research on foreign aquatic animal diseases. The WFRC is the sole World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory for two important diseases of salmon and trout, infectious hematopoietic necrosis and bacterial kidney disease. WFRC researchers used a virus genetic typing system to identify the source of the virus among free-ranging salmonids. This science was used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support redesign of the hatchery water supply system, and to monitor success of that change in dramatically reducing viral disease.
The Leetown Science Center (LSC) has been leading efforts in the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes watersheds to assess the impact of emerging pathogens and environmental stressors including endocrine disrupting chemicals on aquatic animals in these critical aquatic ecosystems. Scientists at the LSC partner with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and various State agencies for infectious and non-infectious fish disease investigations.