Photo on 5-18-15 at 7.37 PM #2Dr. Cova Arias

Professor and Assistant Director for Instruction, Extension and Outreach

School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

Lab Website


Catfish farmers continue to identify disease as the main problem for their industry. My research focuses on Microbial diagnosis of bacterial catfish pathogens: detection and molecular epidemiology Identification and characterization of genes associated with virulence in catfish pathogens. Analysis of microbial communities in aquaculture setting.
A second area of research is related to food safety in oysters.

We are currently working on:

1. Vibrio vulnificus coldshock response under refrigeration conditions
2. Evaluating the efficiency of postharvest treatments in oysters

2000 to present, Member of the American Society for Microbiology
2002 to present, Member of the American Fisheries Society
2002 to present, Member of the Alabama Fisheries Association
2003 to present, Member of the World Aquaculture Society

2004, Recipient of a New Faculty Scholar Award given by the Biggio Center (Auburn University)
2000-2001, Post-doctoral fellowship from the European NATO agency, €25,000.
1999, Extraordinary Doctorate Award from the University of Valencia, Spain, to the best Ph.D. thesis in Microbiology.

Article-length publications in refereed journals: (*indicates student contributions, corresponding author is underlined)

  1. Mohammed, H.*, and C. R.Arias. Chemical disruption of the external fish microbiome increases host susceptibility to bacterial infections. Veterinary Research (submitted)
  2. Bullard, S. A., M. R. Womble, K. M. Maynard, R. Orelis-Ribeiroa, and C. R. Arias. Skin lesions on yellowfin tuna Thunnus albacares from the Gulf of Mexico’s outer continental shelf: morphological, molecular, and histological diagnosis. Parasitology International (accepted)
  3. Larsen, A. M*, S. A. Bullard, M. Womble, and C. R. Arias. Community structure of skin microbiome of Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis, is driven by seasonality and not exposure to oiled sediments in a Louisiana saltmarsh. Microbial Ecology (accepted).
  4. Larsen, A. M.*, H. Mohammed*, and C. R. Arias. Comparison of DNA extraction protocols for the analysis of gut microbiota in fishes. FEMS Letters in Microbiology (accepted).
  5. Larsen, A. M.*, F.S. Rikard, W.C. Walton, and C. R. Arias. 2014. Temperature effect on high salinity depuration of Vibrio vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus from the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). International Journal of Food Microbiology 192: 66-71.
  6. Zhen, T.*, S. A. Bullard, and C. R.Arias. 2014. Diversity of culturable bacteria from blood vascular system of lesser electric rays (Narcine bancroftii) captured in the northern Gulf of Mexico off Alabama. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 26: 225-232.
  7. Zhang, X., W. Cai*, Z. Tao*, and C. R.Arias. 2014. Survival of fish pathogenic strains of Aeromonas hydrophila under starvation conditions. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 26: 190-193.
  8. Orelis-Ribeiro*, R., C. R.Arias, K. M. Halanych, T. H. Cribb, and S. A. Bullard. 2014. Diversity and ancestry of flatworms infecting blood of non-tetrapod craniates (fishes). Advances in Parasitology, 85:1-64.
  9. Larsen, A. M.*, H. Mohammed*, and C. R.Arias. 2014. Characterization of the gut microbiota of commercially valuable warmwater fish species. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 116: 1396–1404.
  10. Mohammed, H.*, and C. R. Arias. 2014. Epidemiology of columnaris disease affecting fishes within the same watershed. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 109:201-211.
  11. Geng, X., J. Feng, Y. Wang, C. R. Arias, and Z. Liu. 2014. Transcriptional regulation of hypoxia inducible factors alpha (HIF-alpha) and their inhibiting factor (FIH-1) of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) under hypoxia. Comp. Biochem Physiol. B Biochem Mol Bio. 169: 38-50.
  12. Wenlong, C.*, L. De La Fuente, and C. R. Arias. 2013. Biofilm formation by the fish pathogen Flavobacterium columnare: development and parameters affecting surface attachment. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 79:5633-5642.
  13. Mohammed, H.*, O. Olivares-Fuster, S. LaFrentz, and C. R. Arias. 2013. New attenuated vaccine against columnaris disease in fish: choosing the right parental strain is critical for vaccine efficacy. Vaccine, 31: 5276-5280.
  14. Arias, C. R., K.* Koenders, and A. M.* Larsen. 2013. Predominant bacteria associated with red snapper Lutjanus campechanus (Poey, 1860) from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 25:281-289.
  15. Walton, W. C., S. Rikard, G. I. Chaplin, J. E. Davis, C. R. Arias, and J. E. Supan. 2013. Effects of ploidy and gear on the performance of cultured oysters, Crassostrea virginica: survival, growth, shape, condition index and vibrio abundances. Aquaculture, 414-415:260-266.
  16. Larsen, A.*, Z. Tao*, S. A. Bullard, and C. R. Arias. 2013. Diversity of the skin microbiotas of fishes: evidence for host species specificity. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 85: 483-494.
  17. Larsen, A.*, S. Rikard, W. Walton, and C. R. Arias. 2013. Effective reduction of Vibrio vulnificus in the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) using high salinity depuration. Food Microbiology, 34: 118-122.
  18. Wood, C. R. R.*, and C. R. Arias. 2013. Dynamics of bacterial communities in post-harvest Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) maintained under refrigeration. Journal of Aquatic Food Product Technology, doi:0.1080/10498850.2013.772270.
  19. Arias, C. R., S. LaFrentz, W. Cai*, and O. Olivares-Fuster. 2012. Adaptive response to starvation in the fish pathogen Flavobacterium columnare: cell viability and ultrastructural changes. BMC Microbiology, 12: 266.
  20. Tao, Z.*, A. Larsen*, S. A. Bullard, A. C. Wright, and C. R. Arias. 2012. Prevalence and population structure of Vibrio vulnificus on recreational fishes from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78: 7611-7618.
  21. Bullard, S. A., H. Mohammed*, and C. R. Arias. First record of the fish pathogen Flavobacterium columnare genomovar II from bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus (Rafinesque), with observations on associated lesions. Journal of Fish Diseases, 36: 477-451.
  22. Wood, R. R. *, and C. R. Arias. 2012. Distribution and survival of Vibrio vulnificus genotypes in postharvest Gulf Coast (USA) oysters under refrigeration. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 113: 172-180.
  23. Arias, C. R., W. Cai*, E. Peatman, and S. A. Bullard. 2012. Channel catfish x Blue catfish hybrid exhibits higher resistance to columnaris disease as compared to its parental species. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 100: 77-81.
  24. Tao, Z.*, S. A. Bullard, and C. R. Arias. 2011. High numbers of Vibrio vulnificus in tar balls collected from within oiled areas of the north-central Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. EcoHealth, 8: 507-511.
  25. Bullard, S. A., O. Olivares-Fuster, G. W. Benz, and C. R. Arias. 2011. Molecules infer origins of ectoparasite infrapopulations on tuna. Parasitology International, 60: 447-451.
  26. Bullard, S. A., A. McElwain*, and C. R. Arias. 2011. Scanning electron microscopy of saddleback lesions associated with experimental infections of Flavobacterium columnare in channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Siluriformes: Ictaluridae) and zebrafish, Danio rerio, (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae). Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, 42: 906-913.
  27. Arias, C. R., and R. R. Wood*. 2011. Dynamics of Vibrio vulnificus strains in the Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) under refrigeration. Journal of Shellfish Research, 30: 482-482.
  28. Zhou, P.*, S. K. Hussain, M. R.Liles, C. R. Arias, S. Backert, J. Kieninger, O. A. Oyarzabal. 2011. Simplified enrichment protocol for the isolation of Campylobacter spp. from retail broiler meat. BMC Microbiology, 11: 175-187.
  29. Sudini, H.*, C. R. Arias, M. Liles, K. Bowen, and C. R. Huettel. 2011. Exploring soil bacterial communities in different peanut cropping sequences using multiple molecular approaches. Phytopathology, 101:819-827.
  30. Olivares-Fuster, O., S. A. Bullard, A. McElwain*, M. J. Llosa, and C. R. Arias. 2011. Adhesion dynamics of Flavobacterium columnare to channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) after immersion challenge. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 96: 221-227.
  31. Wood, R.*, and C. R. Arias. 2011. Evaluation of global gene expression during cold shock in the human pathogen Vibrio vulnificus. Marine Biotechnology, 13:942-954.
  32. Olivares-Fuster, O., and C. R. Arias. 2011. Development and characterization of rifampicin-resistant mutants from high virulent strains of Flavobacterium columnare. Journal of Fish Diseases, 34: 385-398.
  33. Sudini, H.*, C. R. Arias, M. Liles, K. Bowen, and C. R. Huettel. 2011. Comparison of soil fungal community structure in different peanut rotation sequences using RISA in relation to aflatoxin producing fungi. Phytopathology, 101: 52-57.
  34. Bebak, J., C. A. Shoemaker, C. R. Arias, and P. H. Klesius. 2011. Freezing channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus Rafinesque) fingerlings: Partial validation and comparison of assays for Edwardsiella ictaluri infection. Aquaculture Research, 42: 169-176.
  35. Arias, C. R., Olivares-Fuster, O., and J. Goris. 2010. High intragenomic heterogeneity of 16S rRNA genes in Vibrio vulnificus isolated from the Mediterranean Sea. International Microbiology, 13: 179-188.
  36. Lewis, M.*, S. Rikard, and C. R. Arias. 2010. Evaluation of a flow-through depuration system to eliminate the human pathogen Vibrio vulnificus from oysters. Journal of Aquaculture Research and Development, 1:103. doi:10.4172/2155-9546.1000103.
  37. Olivares-Fuster, O., C. A. Shoemaker, J. Terhune, and C. R. Arias. 2010. Cloning, expression and immunogenicity of Flavobacterium columnare heat shock protein DnaJ. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 22: 78-86.
  38. Zhang, Y.*, and C. R. Arias. 2009. Identification and characterization of gtf, norB, and trx genes in Flavobacterium columnare. Journal of Microbial and Biochemical Technology, 1: 64-71.
  39. Shoemaker, C. A., P. H. Klesius, J. J. Evans, and C. R. Arias. 2009. Use of modified live vaccines in aquaculture. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society, 40: 573-585.
  40. Prapaiwong, N.*, C. R. K.Wallace, and C. R. Arias. 2009. Bacterial loads and microbial composition in high pressure treated oysters during storage. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 131: 145-150.
  41. Limthammahisorn, S.*, Y. J. Brady, and C. R. Arias. 2009. In vivo gene expression of cold shock and other stress-related genes in Vibrio vulnificus during shellstock temperature control conditions in oysters. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 106: 642-650.
  42. Olivares-Fuster, O. and C. R. Arias. 2008. Use of suppressive subtractive hybridization to identify Flavobacterium columnare DNA sequences not shared with Flavobacterium johnsoniae. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 46: 605–612
  43. Olivares-Fuster, O., J. Evans, P. Klesius, and C. R. Arias. 2008. Molecular typing of Streptococcus agalactiae isolates from fish. Journal of Fish Diseases, 31: 277–283.
  44. Limthammahisorn, S.*, Y. J. Brady, and C. R. Arias. 2008. In vitro gene expression of cold shock and other stress-related genes in Vibrio vulnificus during shellstock temperature control conditions. Journal of Food Protection, 71: 157–164
  45. Shoemaker, C. A., Olivares-Fuster, C. C. R. Arias, P. H. Klesius. 2008. Genomovar influences Flavobacterium columnare mortality in channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque). Veterinary Microbiology, 127: 353–359
  46. Abernathy, J. W.*, P. P. Xu, P. P Li, D. D. Xu, H. H. Kucuktas, P. H. Klesius, C. R. Arias, Z. J. Liu. 2007. Generation and analysis of expressed sequence tags from the ciliate protozoan parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. BMC Genomics, 8: 176.
  47. Olivares-Fuster, O., J. Baker, J. Terhune, A. Shoemaker, and P. H. Klesius, C. C. R. Arias. 2007. Host-specific association between Flavobacterium columnare genomovars and fish species. Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 30: 624-633
  48. Olivares-Fuster, O., C. A. Shoemaker, and P. H. Klesius, C. R. Arias. 2007. Molecular typing of isolates of the fish pathogen, Flavobacterium columnare, by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 269: 63-69
  49. Zhang*, Y., and C. R. Arias. 2007. Identification and characterization of an intervening sequence within the 23S ribosomal RNA genes of Edwardsiella ictaluri. Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 30: 93-101.
  50. Arias, C. R., O. Olivares-Fuster, K. Hayden, C. A. Shoemaker, J. M. Grizzle, and P. H. Klesius. 2007. First report of Yersinia ruckeri biotype 2 in the USA. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 19: 35-40.
  51. Zhang*, Y., C. R Arias, C. A. Shoemaker, and P. H. Klesius. 2006. Comparison of lipopolysaccharide and protein profiles between Flavobacterium columnare strains from different genomovars. Journal of Fish Diseases, 29: 657-663.
  52. Arias, C. R., J. W. Abernathy*, and Z. Liu. 2006. Combined use of 16S ribosomal DNA and automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) to study the bacterial community in catfish ponds. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 43:287-292.
  53. Panangala, V., C. A. Shoemaker, S. T. McNulty*, C. R. Arias, and P. H. Klesius. 2006. Intra- and interspecific phenotypic characteristics of fish-pathogenic Edwardsiella ictaluri and E. tarda. Aquaculture Research. 37: 49-60.
  54. Shoemaker, C. A., C. R. Arias, T. L. Welker, and P. H. Klesius. 2005. Technique for identifying Flavobacterium columnare using whole cell fatty acids. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 17: 267-274.
  55. Guo, W., Duan, O. Olivares-Fuster, Z. Wu, C. R Arias, J. K. Burns, and J. W. Grosser. 2005. Protoplast transformation and regeneration of transgenic Valencia sweet orange plants containing the juice quality-related pectin methylesterase gene. Plant Cell Reports, 24: 482-486.
  56. Welker, T. L., A. Shoemaker , C. R. Arias, and P. H. Klesius. 2005. Transmission and detection of Flavobacterium columnare in channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 63: 129-138.
  57. Figueiredo, H. C. P., P. H Klesius, C. R. C. R. Arias, J. Evans, C. A. Shoemaker, D. Pereira, and M. T. D. Peixoto. 2005. Isolation and characterization of strains of Flavobacterium columnare from Brazil. Journal of Fish Diseases 28, 199-204.
  58. Arias, C. R., T. L. Welker, C. A. Shoemaker, J. W. Abernathy, and P. H. Klesius. 2004. Genetic fingerprinting of Flavobacterium columnare isolates from cultured fish. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 97: 421-428.
  59. Klesius, P. H., J. Lovy, J. Evans, E. Washuta, and C. R. Arias. 2003. Isolation of Edwardsiella ictaluri from Tadpole Madtom, Noturus gyrinus in a Southwestern New Jersey. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 15: 295-301.
  60. Arias, C. R., Shoemaker, and P. Klesius. 2003. A comparative study of Edwardsiella ictaluri parent (EILO) and Edwardsiella ictaluri rifampicin-mutant (RE33) isolates using lipopolysaccharides, outer membrane proteins, fatty acids, Biolog, API 20E, and genomic analyses. Journal of Fish Diseases, 26: 415-421.
  61. Burns, J. K., V. Pozo, C. R. Arias, B. Hockema, V. Rangaswamy, and Carol L. Bender. Coronatine and Abscission in Citrus. 2003. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 128: 309-315.
  62. Arias, C., J. Burns, R. Goodrich, and M. Parish. 2002. Yeast species associated with orange juice: evaluation of different identification methods. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68: 1855-1961.
  63. Arias, C. R., K. Burns. 2002. A pectinmethylesterase gene associated with a heat-stable extract from citrus. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 50: 3465-3472.
  64. Macián, M. C., C. R. Arias, C. R. Aznar, E. Garay, and M. J. Pujalte. 2000. Evaluation of the selectivity of CPC agar for the recovery of Vibrio vulnificus from marine natural samples. International Microbiology, 3: 51-53.
  65. Moreno, Y., C. R. C. R. Arias, H. Meier, E. Garay, and R. Aznar. 1999. In situ analysis of the bacterial communities associated to farmed eel by whole-cell hybridisation. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 29: 160-165.
  66. Arias, C. R., C. Macián, R. Aznar, E. Garay, and M. J. Pujalte. 1999. Low incidence of Vibrio vulnificus among Vibrio isolates from seawater and shellfish of the Western Mediterranean coast. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 86: 125-134.
  67. Arias, C. R., M. J. Pujalte, E. Garay, and Aznar. 1998. Genetic relatedness among Vibrio vulnificus isolates from the Spanish Mediterranean coast by ribotyping and random amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 64: 3403-3410.
  68. Arias, C. R., Aznar, M. J. Pujalte, and E. Garay. 1998. A comparison of strategies for the detection and recovery of Vibrio vulnificus from marine samples of the Western Mediterranean coast. Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 21: 128-134.
  69. Arias, C. R., Verdonck, J. Swings, R. Aznar, and E. Garay. 1997. A polyphasic approach to study the instraspecific diversity amongst Vibrio vulnificus isolates. Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 20: 622-633.
  70. Arias, C. R., L. Verdonck, J. Swings, E. Garay, and Aznar. 1997. Intraspecific differentiation of Vibrio vulnificus biotypes by amplified fragment length polymorphism and ribotyping. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 63: 2600-2606.
  71. Arias, C. R., E. Garay, and Aznar. 1995. Nested PCR method for rapid and sensitive detection of Vibrio vulnificus in fish, sediments and water. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 61: 3476-3478.