Third International Symposium on Ranavirus

Field Trips & Workshops

Options 1 and 2 provide an opportunity for symposium participants to experience some of Florida’s natural beauty and local culture. Options 3 and 4 provide hands-on training opportunities in the design of ranavirus surveillance studies, data analysis, sterile sample collection, and molecular diagnostics. Please note: participants can sign up for any option by itself; however, these activities were designed so that participants can take advantage of more than one option. Possible combinations include either 1 & 4 or 3 & 4.


Monday, June 1st, 8:00am - 1:00pm
Maximum capacity: 25 participants
Fee: $40


Participants will enjoy a Paynes Prairie nature walk at La Chua trail and then visit the historic town of Micanopy for lunch and shopping.


Paynes Prairie

A natural resource of national importance, Paynes Prairie is comprised of 25 distinct natural communities, which include more than 800 kinds of plants. This biodiversity provides an impressive array of habitat for wildlife, so be sure to bring your camera or binoculars. Visitors can observe alligators, bison, wild horses and 271 species of birds, including sandhill cranes, bald eagles, hawks and migrating waterfowl. Seasonally, dazzling displays of marsh marigolds, American lotus, and pickerelweed paint the Great Alachua Savannah just as described by William Bartram in 1774 in his book Travels. The prairie basin was formed when a number of adjoining sinkholes eventually merged. The lush grasses, sedges and flowering plants that cover the basin act as a natural filter, purifying water in the vast wetland. Alachua Sink works like a drain in the floor of the basin providing an essential “recharge” of the Floridian Aquifer - our drinking water. During its recorded history, the basin’s character has changed little, except for periods when the area flooded enough to be considered a lake. For more information, visit


Micanopy: “The Town that Time Forgot”

The historic town of Micanopy has a sleepy, dreamlike quality that mystifies its visitors. Ancient oaks bearded with Spanish moss form a canopy over Micanopy’s private homes and storefronts that time seems to have forgotten. Most of the buildings are on the National Historic Register and in fact, Micanopy is the oldest inland settlement in Florida. Records on Micanopy date back to at least 1539, when explorer Hernando De Soto found the Timucuan Indians living there. When naturalist William Bartram made his famous journey through Florida in 1774, he found members of the Southern Creek Indian nation living near Micanopy in Alachua County. In 1938, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote her famous novel, The Yearling, at her homestead known as Cross Creek. Today, Micanopy’s buildings have been transformed into unique shops and cafes. Here, visitors will find shops brimming with antiques, collectibles, folk art, and decorative fare. The town also offers beautiful vistas and parks, as well as a historical museum. For more information, visit

Monday, June 1st, 8:00am - 4:00pm
Maximum capacity: 25 participants
Fee: $50


Participants will enjoy a visit to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, boxed lunch provided.


Homosassa Springs State Park
Just a 1.5-hour drive from Gainesville, Homosassa Springs offers a breathtaking showcase of Florida’s native wildlife and scenery. Homosassa Springs serves as a rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned West Indian manatees, which visitors can view from above the water or via an underwater observatory. The State Park also offers a permanent home for non-releasable wildlife, and viewers can expect to see black bears, bobcats, key deer, alligators, gray foxes, otters and cougars at close range. Visitors may also see a wide variety of free-ranging native birds, including wood ducks, spoonbills, birds of prey, herons, egrets and a whooping crane. The centerpiece of the State Park is the gorgeous, crystal clear spring, which houses native fresh and saltwater fish species at a year-round temperature of 72 degrees. Floridians consider Homosassa Springs to be one of the best attractions in the state. For more information, visit

Monday, June 1st, 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Instructors: Matthew Gray (University of Tennessee)
                    and Jesse Brunner (Washington State University)
Maximum capacity: 50 participants
Fee: $20
Fee with box lunch: $30


Participants will learn how to effectively design ranavirus surveillance studies based on the objectives of the study. This morning session will include interactive discussions of the following topics: linking study objectives to data collection, prevalence versus incidence, infection versus disease, sample size determination, and data analysis.

Monday, June 1st, 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Instructors: Debra Miller (University of Tennessee)

                    and Paul Hick (University of Sydney)
Maximum capacity: 25 participants
Fee: $20


Participants will learn proper biosecurity protocols when handling biological samples as well as sample collection/processing/storage. Next, participants will learn proper molecular diagnostic approaches including: sample transport/receipt/archiving, nucleic acid purification, and running/interpreting molecular diagnostic assays. This afternoon session will include interactive discussions, a hands-on necropsy wetlab, and a tour of molecular diagnostics facilities at the University of Florida.


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