Biography: Dr. Alistair Dove is an Australian marine biologist living in the United States, where he is currently Director of Research and Conservation at Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. His research interests are diverse but generally explore the theme of health in the aquatic environment, from individual animals to ecosystems. He is a passionate scientist communicator and is associate editor of DeepSeaNews. Follow on Twitter at @para_sight and @Wheres_Domino, and his YouTube channel
Dr. Dove was trained in zoology and parasitology at The University of Queensland. He has held positions at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Cornell University and Stony Brook University and is an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is founding Chairman of the Board of Ch’ooj Ajauil AC, a non-profit conservation NGO based in Cancun Mexico, which strives for improved conservation of the extraordinary biodiversity of the Yucatan Upwelling Zone, home to the largest aggregation of whale sharks known to science.
To contact Dr. Dove about this website or about speaking engagements, click here.
The opinions expressed on this website are not necessarily those of Georgia Aquarium. All photographs and other media are (c) 2010-2013 Alistair Dove, unless otherwise indicated, and are provided under Creative Commons license CC-BY NC
Metabolomics for exotic animals. This essay arose from an invited presentation by Dr Dove at the Nutrition Advisory Group meeting in Kansas City in late 2010. In it, he argues that a wholistic approach to biochemistry using NMR and MS metabolomic tools is a very powerful approach to help study poorly understood exotic species in zoos and aquariums.
Using metabolomics to look for biomarkers of health in whale sharks. A unique collaboration with chemists and biochemists from Georgia Institute of technology resulted in the first exploration of the biochemistry of the world’s largest fish, and the discovery of dozens of helpful chemical markers of health in this species.
Lobster shell disease. With colleagues and students from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, Dr. Dove explored in two papers in Journal of Shellfish Research the roles of bacteria and the immune system in the presentation of the disfiguring condition called epizootic shell disease, which has plagued lobsters in southern New England in recent years.
Bacterial communities on fish skin and their role in disease. USGS microbiologist Rocco Cipriano studies the disease furunculosis in salmon as a model of the host-pathogen relationship. In this peer-reviewed chapter, he and Dr. Dove show how furunculosis is not a one-pathogen one-host problem but really starts as a dysfunction of the microbial community on the fish’s skin and ends when equilibrium is restored.
Acquisition and Husbandry of whale sharks. In this peer-reviewed chapter from a US-Russian exchange meeting on aquatic animal health, Dr. Dove and other scientists and staff from Georgia Aquarium describe the logistics of whale shark acquisition and preliminary data on whale shark biology gleaned from working with them in an aquarium setting.
An unprecedented aggregation of whale sharks. An exceptional annual gathering of the worlds largest fish off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is the current focus of Dr. Dove’s research. The sharks come to feed on tuna spawn. PLoS One is open access, so you can go to the link and read about this amazing biological event for yourself! Coauthored with colleagues from Project Domino
Descriptive haematology of the whale shark. This paper from Aquatic Biology, co-authored with Jill Arnold from the National Aquarium in Baltimore and Dr. Tonya Clauss from Georgia Aquarium, describes for the first time the blood cells and serum chemistry of the world’s largest fish. More sophisticated studies on chemistry of whale shark serum followed, and these should be published early in 2011.
Whale sharks open research doors. In this popular science article published in Connect, the magazine of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Dr. Dove describes how the collection of whale sharks at Georgia Aquarium is proving a boon for researchers. It is facilitating studies never before possible, including husbandry, behaviour, veterinary care, functional anatomy, metabolomics and genomics.
Building and maintaining the largest live reef exhibit in the world. Dr. Dove was a co-author on this invited chapter describing the design and maintenance of “mega-reef” exhibits, based on experiences with Georgia Aquarium’s Indo-Pacific tank. Since that time, Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences has opened a reef exhibit slightly larger than the Indo-Pacific exhibit at Georgia Aquarium and the two institutions now collaborate on these tremendously difficult systems.
Description of excretory calcinosis, a new disease of American lobsters. The collapse of the Long Island Sound lobster fishery prompted NY State to establish its first marine disease laboratory. There Dr. Dove published in Diseases of Aquatic Organisms about a fatal new disease wherein calcium deposits form like sand grains throughout the tissues of the body. Subsequent experimental studies confirmed that environmental causes (read: global warming) are harming lobster populations.
Haematological disorders of fish. Dr. Tonya Clauss, chief veterinarian at Georgia Aquarium, was the lead author on this review of blood diseases of fish for the Veterinary Clinics of North America, which includes both elasmobranchs and teleosts, and conditions such as anemia, bacterial infections (septicemias like Aeromonas and Vibrio), viral infections, parasite infestations such as trypanosomes, and circulating cell neoplasias (cancers).
Neutral Theory in parasite assemblages. Neutral Theory is an ecological framework that accounts for the distribution of animal abundance with simple “neutral” processes like birth/death rates and immigration/ emigration rates, without resorting to processes like competition (which were long though to be more important). In this opinion piece in Journal of Parasitology, Dr. Dove shows that Neutral Theory is hard to apply to parasite communities mostly because they are hard to define in a way that works for the NT models.
The first report of QPX disease in NY hard clams. Quahog Parasite Unknown (QPX) is better known these days - its a thraustochytrid protist related to slime molds - but it is nonetheless an important and damaging disease in hard clam fisheries and aquaculture. During his time at Stony Brook University, Dr. Dove published in the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health the first description of this disease in NY waters, based on material from an outbreak in Raritan Bay
A review of species accumulation curves and their applications in parasite ecology. The more you sample, the fewer news species you find. That’s the basic tenet of Species Accumulation Curves. But, when they are applied to parasite communities, you can learn a lot about how diversity is distributed, and even about how species might be interacting with each other. Dr. Dove reviewed SAC’s with the help of his PhD advisor Dr. Tom Cribb in this Trends in Parasitology paper
Bothriocephalus in Australia. The Asian fish tapeworm, Bothriocephalus acheilognathi, is a damaging but little known pest parasite that has accompanied common carp on their spread around the world. Part of Dr. Dove’s dissertation work showed where in Australia and in what host species the tapeworm occurs.
An introduction to fish parasitology and portal to the literature for aquarists. In 2001, Dr. Dove co-authored this introduction to the major parasite groups in fish with Dr. George Benz (Middle Tennessee State U.) and Dr. Stephen “Ash” Bullard (Auburn University)