The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is recognizing renowned shrimp pathologist Donald Lightner with a Lifetime Achievement Award at its Global Outlook on Aquaculture Leadership 2013 conference in Paris, France, the organization announced in early September. He will accept the award on Wednesday, Oct. 9.
Lightner is a shrimp and finfish pathologist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, and he directs the Aquaculture Pathology Diagnostic Laboratory, a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)-reference laboratory for shrimp diseases.
Lightner's research deals with virology, histology, toxicology, electron microscopy and other tools for use in disease diagnosis, pathogen characterization and treatment.
He also has been instrumental in the prevention of disease through nutrition, immunology and development of specific pathogen-free stocks of Pacific white shrimp and black tiger shrimp.
Lightner has played an instrumental role in identifying the elusive pathogen causing early mortality syndrome (EMS), which has significantly impacted global shrimp production. Early this year, Lightner and his team found that EMS is caused by a bacterial agent, which is transmitted orally, colonizes the shrimp gastrointestinal tract and produces a toxin that causes tissue destruction and dysfunction of the shrimp digestive organ known as the hepatopancreas. The pathogen is a unique strain of a relatively common bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
Lightner's research is leading to additional ways to better understand and manage the disease.
"Disease epidemics have plagued shrimp farming for four decades, but Dr. Lightner and his dedicated team have been there every step of the way to help diagnose and overcome each outbreak, develop ever improving tools to prevent and manage disease, and train a new generation of health specialists around the world," said GAA President George Chamberlain, who will present the award to Lightner at GOAL 2013.
Additionally, Lightner will be part of a panel that's providing an update on EMS, including recent efforts to better understand and manage the disease and its effect on the global shrimp supply.
With about 50 speakers, GOAL 2013 takes place at the Hotel Pullman Montparnasse in Paris from October 7 to 10. Among the topics to be addressed at GOAL 2013 are EMS, feed sustainability, aquaculture growth opportunities in the Middle East and Africa and the latest farmed seafood production data and forecasts. All topics revolve around this year's theme, "Join the Journey."