Teesside University academic, Dr Jamie Bojko, has taken up a scientific advisory role to support the marine animal welfare charity – British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR).
The role involves providing genomic and pathological advice on the emergence and understanding of seal diseases across the UK.
Dr Jamie Bojko is a Senior Lecturer in Disease Ecology, based at Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre, a UK centre of excellence for bioscience and healthcare. Dr Bojko’s key area of research involves identifying pathogens in aquatic animals, from tiny crustaceans that support whole ecosystems through to apex marine predators, such as seals.
Dr Bojko is a member of the investigatory team conducting a three-year study on seal disease ecology on a national scale, particularly focusing on the emerging “mouth rot” condition in Harbour Seal pups. The research is conducted alongside BDMLR veterinarian Dr Natalie Arrow, Teesmouth Seal Conservation Trustee (TSCT) and veterinarian Dr Devon Lycette, UK Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme leads Rob Deaville and Dr James Barnett, Industry Nature Conservation Association (INCA) lead Ian Bond, and BDMLR coordinators Dan Jarvis and Em Mayman.
BDMLR uses a network of specially trained volunteers to help marine animals. The charity’s work ranges from advising over the phone about a seal reported by a concerned member of the public, to a full-blown environmental disaster such as an oil spill.
Working with vets, CSIP, and BDMLR, Dr Bojko has employed nucleotide sequencing technology and computational tools to identify diseases in seal populations across the entire UK by analysing tissue samples at the National Horizons Centre. This work led to his appointment as one of the charity’s Scientific Advisors.
Dr Bojko’s experience and expertise has proven invaluable in our investigation of 'mouth rot', and I'm sure will have a major impact on further important projects in the future.
Dan Jarvis from BDMLR said: “The BDMLR team have been impressed with the work Jamie has carried out in investigating the common seal mouth infection and the scientific knowledge that has already been gained during the course of this study. We are keen to strengthen this collaboration in looking ahead to the future, so adding a wildlife disease specialist to our rank of specialist scientific consultants is a natural step forward.”
Veterinarian Dr Natalie Arrow said: “I'm delighted to see Dr Bojko join our team of Scientific Consultants at BDMLR. His experience and expertise has proven invaluable in our investigation of 'mouth rot', and I'm sure will have a major impact on further important projects in the future."
Dr Bojko said: “I’m thrilled to have been appointed this role by BDMLR.
“There is a considerable need to explore the health of our seas. The work that BDMLR does is so valuable and of vital importance. I’m really glad that I can help.
“The information emerging from our research, which is supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), is leading to new detail on seal health on a national level.”
Professor Vikki Rand, Director of the National Horizons Centre, added: “The National Horizons Centre was established to deliver impactful research.
“Dr Bojko’s appointment to this prestigious role is evidence of the way in which the work of our academics is having a tangible effect in multiple areas and sectors of our society.”
A boost for marine disease ecology at Teesside University
Northern Echo, p.32, Print and Web, 31/03/2023 A new role involving providing genomic and pathological advice on the emergence and understanding of seal diseases across the UK has been taken on by a Teesside University academic.