Understanding abalone

Danielle Acklerly is working on the development of vaccines for aquatic invertebrates, with a focus on abalone

Danielle Ackerly’s veterinary studies have seen her work with animals large and small, from horses and lambs through to honeybees and abalone.

During her Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Biosciences at La Trobe, she undertook placements at a stud farm and Australia Zoo.

“At the stud farm, I learned about lamb marking and aiding with pregnancy and veterinary examinations. I developed practical skills including learning how to give intravenous injections and complete husbandry work. I thoroughly enjoyed helping the farmers in a hands-on way with different farming practices.”

“At Australia Zoo, I formulated diets and created enrichment plans for behavioural and physical health of a wide range of animals. This placement was also great for developing communication skills between industry and the general public, and learning about science communication.”

Now in the second year of her PhD, Danielle is working on the development of vaccines for aquatic invertebrates, with a focus on abalone.

“My research seeks to understand how we can use industrial approaches to distribute vaccines to a high number of animals with the lowest feasible labour costs. Such approaches involve vaccine administration in feed instead of classical intravenous or intramuscular vaccination, which is difficult to do on an industrial scale.”

“This research is important for the aquaculture sector and the abalone farming industry, because there are limited options available for commercial use.”

“My research will fill this gap and offer an inexpensive and convenient vaccine for these common pathogens in Australian abalone species.”

After she completes her PhD, Danielle hopes to continue this important research.

“I would love to work on developing vaccines and diagnostics for emerging animal diseases, both nationally and internationally.”