Journal Club: Hunting the Eagle Killer

Susan B. Wilde and Lauren Richardson

Posted April 20, 2021

In 1994, 29 bald eagles were found dead at DeGray Lake in Arkansas. This mass mortality event kicked off a search for the culprit which has last over 25 years. On this episode of the Bio Eats World Journal Club, host Lauren Richardson talks to Susan B. Wilde of the University of Georgia about her group’s work finally identifying the eagle killer. The article, “Hunting the eagle killer: A cyanobacterial neurotoxin causes vacuolar myelinopathy” by Steffen Breinlinger, Tabitha J. Phillips, Brigette N. Haram, Jan Mareš, José A. Martínez Yerena, Pavel Hrouzek, Roman Sobotka, W. Matthew Henderson, Peter Schmieder, Susan M. Williams, James D. Lauderdale, H. Dayton Wilde, Wesley Gerrin, Andreja Kust, John W. Washington, Christoph Wagner, Benedikt Geier, Manuel Liebeke, Heike Enke, Timo H. J. Niedermeyer and Susan B. Wilde, published in Science, reveals a complex web of ecosystem dysfunction, which we are only beginning to understand. Solving this mystery required a fresh point of view, a wide range of techniques and technologies, and an international collaborative effort.