Sea lice and the Salmo salar mucosal microbiome

Sea lice, copepod fish ectoparasites, are a major burden of disease on commercially reared salmon. The annual cost of infection is considered to be in excess of €300 million. Several species are implicated, principally L. salmonis and members of genus Caligus. Sea lice feed on host mucus, skin and underlying tissue, causing legions that precede secondary bacterial infections.

In two linked project, we are to examining the interaction between L. salmonis and Caligus rogercresseyi infection and the host commensal microbiome throughout their lifecycle.

We aim to evaluate microbiome dynamics prior and during copepodid attachment, chalimus, pre-adult and adult development in wild and farmed fish. We are exploring explore infestation density effects, mucous composition (cortisol, immunochemistry), host heath status and the ecological succession of opportunistic pathogens that accompany lesion formation.

For more information see: https://salmonlousemicrobiome.org/

Funded by Marie-Curie International Outgoing Fellowship, Martin Llewellyn & ENGAGE project, NSERC, Canada, Nicolas Derome.

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