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Transcriptomic analysis of the effects of Salmosan® exposure on larval American lobster


The lobster fishery contributes more than $2.1 billion annually to the economies of hundreds of communities in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. In Atlantic Canada, communities that rely on the American Lobster fishery also benefit economically from the growing salmon aquaculture industry, which is currently valued at $147 million a year. Given the economic importance of both industries, rural and indigenous communities must work together to ensure the successful coexistence of both. The release of pesticides from aquaculture sites has raised concerns about their potential impacts on native, non-target species. Of particular concern is the potential impact on American Lobster due its cultural and commercial importance, and because it inhabits the near-shore environment where fish farms are located.

This project will examine the effects of an anti-parasite chemical (Salmosan®)—used to control sea lice in farmed Atlantic Salmon—on larval American Lobster. The research will build on previous sublethal exposure trials to better understand the relative sensitivities of all four larval life stages of lobster to the chemical. These past exposure trials used biologically relevant concentrations of Salmosan® to ensure the research results would be directly applicable to current practices and policies in Atlantic Canada. Using archived tissue samples from the previous trials, transcriptomic analysisFootnote 1 will be used to assess the effects of exposure. This type of analysis can determine whether pesticide exposure causes changes in gene regulation that can have long-term implications on the survivability and development of larval lobster as they grow into the adults that sustain the lobster fishery. Gene regulation refers to the mechanisms that can induce or repress the expression of a gene. The findings will help inform the use of Salmosan® for controlling sea lice and the protection of the lobster fishery in Atlantic Canada.

Program Name

National Contaminants Advisory Group (NCAG)




Gulf of St. Lawrence

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. K. Fraser Clark
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Mount Allison University

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