Assessing the evolution of virulence of the salmon louse in the Bay of Fundy
The salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) is a common parasite on salmonids that is evolving rapidly under farmed conditions and becoming increasingly resistant to treatments. In addition, research recently conducted in Norway showed that sea lice from farmed salmon inflict greater skin damage upon their hosts and reproduce more rapidly, suggesting that they are becoming more virulent in salmon aquaculture. Changes in the virulence of the salmon louse have not yet been assessed in Canada, but if confirmed, the presence of highly virulent strains of sea lice in Canada could have implications for the management of sea lice on salmon farms.This project aims to develop a virulence challenge model by rearing lice originating from wild and farmed sources in a common garden experiment and comparing their virulence on both farmed and wild hosts. Furthermore, it aims to test the hypothesis that sea lice from farmed salmon are more virulent than those from wild salmon.
Three years: 2019-2022
Marc Trudel, research scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station, Maritimes Region
Mark Fast, associate professor of fish health and comparative immunology, Atlantic Veterinary College
Steven Leadbeater, aquatic biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station, Maritimes Region
Laura Marie Braden, senior research scientist, Research and Development, AquaBounty Canada Inc.
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