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Evaluating Beggiatoa and OPC as indicators of benthic habitat conditions on hard ocean substrates using visual data collected seasonally at new finfish aquaculture sites and near the end of production at established sites



The overall purpose of this project is to evaluate Beggiatoa (a type of aquatic bacteria) and OPC (Opportunistic Polychaete Complexes) as potential indicators of deposition around finfish aquaculture sites located over hard ocean substrates. Four approaches will be used:

  1. statistical relationships will be determined among and between potential indicators, physical parameters (e.g., substrate type) and production level by sampling along transects extending from cages, at site level (production level effects) and sample station level (for finer scale patterns);
  2. physical influences on Beggiatoa and OPC cover will be determined by testing relationships between observations in baseline data and data collected for the first investigation;
  3. differences in observations at the cage edge and at more distal locations will be determined by comparing the results of the first investigation to those from data collected at the cage edge post-production; and
  4. temporal relationships among Beggiatoa /OPC (plus other components of benthic communities) and organic input will be determined by monitoring organic enrichment and benthic communities over time at new finfish aquaculture sites.

Seasonal changes to the benthic community will also be determined by monitoring reference sites.





Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)


2011 - 2014


Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Dounia Hamoutene
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre, St. John’s, NL
Tel.: (709) 772-5872

Team Member(s)

Lee Sheppard, DFO-Newfoundland and Labrador region

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