This program is no longer accepting applications.


The Whirling Disease Innovative Research and Learning (WhIRL) Grant Program aims to collaborate with researchers from a variety of disciplines to better understand whirling disease within Alberta by bridging knowledge gaps in the 3 core elements of the government’s whirling disease action plan:

  • Distribution
  • Education
  • Mitigation

For more information, read the 2018-19 Whirling Disease Innovative Research and Learning Grant Program guidelines.

Program outcomes

Very little is known about the parasite in a Canadian context. The WhIRL Grant Program intends to:

  • support Alberta-based projects to build the Canadian knowledge base on whirling disease
  • position Alberta as a centre of expertise for whirling disease information if whirling disease is detected in other provinces or territories

WhIRL Grant project recipients

In 2018, 6 research projects were selected and approved for funding. These research projects include a wide variety of whirling disease research topics:

  • Tubificid host susceptibility, community competence and whirling disease risk – Dr. Julie Alexander and Dr. Patrick Hanington
  • Contributions of dynamic thermoregulation to mitigate whirling disease: climate change challenges and novel strategies for harnessing fish natural capacity to combat parasite infection – Dr. Daniel Barreda
  • Characterizing the genetic and transcriptomic foundations of oligochaete susceptibility to the whirling disease-causing parasite Myxobolus cerebralis – Dr. Patrick Hanington
  • Assessing the movement and behaviour of anglers and the risk of spreading whirling disease – Dr. Mark Poesch and Dr. Mark Lewis
  • Using citizen science and mobile phone technology to engage anglers and quantify their real-time behaviour and movement across Alberta waterbodies and their potential to spread whirling disease – Dr. Mark Poesch and Sean Simmons
  • Tracking spatio-temporal dynamics of whirling disease in Alberta using paleo-eDNA – Dr. Patrick Hanington, Dr. Mark Poesch and Dr. Rolf Vinebrooke