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Fisheries and wildlife sciences doctoral student wins best poster award at World Aquaculture Society meeting


BLACKSBURG, Va., July 20, 2007 – Guillame Salze, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences in the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech, received the best poster award at the recent World Aquaculture Society meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Salze’s poster examined the effects of supplementing fish diets with 0.06 percent organic selenium upon gene expression, especially in the gut of the fish. His research showed that selenium changed the expression of those genes involved in immunity and cell cycling

Fisheries professor and Salze’s advisor, Ewen McLean elaborated on the research, “In the future, supplemental dietary selenium may be used in aquaculture to increase welfare and production characteristics of cultivated fish and shrimp.”

“I think this shows how important genomic tools are becoming in our field,” said Salze, a native of France, of his poster. “This is the first time such tools are used in an aquaculture context, and in conjunction with other techniques we can get far greater understanding of fish biology.”

Guillaume collaborated research efforts with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and also gained insight from the husband-and-wife team of researchers Steve and Johanna Craig.

“This is an odd but great feeling, and I truly appreciate this honor,” he said of his award. “I don't know what made the judges choose my poster over all the others, but I think this shows how important genomic tools are becoming in our field. Of course, I wouldn't be there without the input of both my advisers Ewen McLean and Steve Craig. I would like to thank them both for guiding me in this exciting area of my research.”

This is the second consecutive best poster award for the Aquaculture Center’s research group. The first was awarded to undergraduate student Rush Battle whose research examined ways to culture marine corals for the aquarium industry.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.