This October JoJ left Cardiff for two months to work in Charles University (Prague) screening British crayfish for the presence of a notifiable pathogen, Aphanomyces astaci. This oomycete, commonly referred to as crayfish plague, causes high mortality of susceptible European crayfish, including Austropotamobius pallipes, Britain’s only native crayfish species. Crayfish plague is reportedly spread by resistant alien American crayfish, such as the signal crayfish (Pascifastacus leniusculus) that is widespread in Britain.
During her visit JoJ was supervised by Dr Adam Petrusek, an expert in the field of Crustacean pathology, in particular crayfish plague. She also worked closely with Agata Mrugala, a PhD student at Charles University studying crayfish plague.
The research visit provided JoJ with an opportunity to improve her molecular techniques, gain experience of working in a foreign research institute and forge a useful collaboration that will hopefully be developed further in the future. The project was funded by the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales and Charles University. Results are currently being written up for submission to an international journal – so keep checking this website if you want to find them out!