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Title: The lifecycle and infection dynamics of Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer 1837), on typical and atypical hosts in marine aquaculture areas
Author: Pert, Campbell Charles
ISNI:       0000 0004 2710 722X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2011
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The main parasite affecting the Scottish Atlantic salmon farming industry is Lepeophtheirus salmonis costing approximately £29 million annually through lost production and treatments. As such, the primary aim of this study was to investigate the infection pressure, fecundity and infection dynamics of L. salmonis in a west coast sea loch containing salmonid aquaculture. Atlantic salmon held in small sentinel cages were used to monitor sea lice infection pressure in Loch Shieldaig. Investigation of the factors affecting infection pressure within the loch found no evidence of a direct link between monthly gravid lice counts on local farmed salmon and lice burdens on sentinel cage fish. Copepodid L. salmonis were present throughout the year despite there being low numbers of wild salmonids in the system during much of the year and as such the source of this infection was unclear. In subsequent laboratory trials, L. salmonis from wild salmon were found to be more fecund than those from farmed salmon and similarly, fecundity and survival were also higher in summer compared to winter populations of L. salmonis. These findings raise the possibility that L. salmonis infecting wild salmonids may “seed” previously fallowed systems. Alternatively, trials with atypical hosts found that L. salmonis of farmed origin did re-infect Atlantic cod and produce viable egg strings which moulted through to the infective copepodid stage. Infection challenges demonstrated that L. salmonis copepodids were observed to settle on atypical hosts such as saithe and Atlantic cod in low numbers although failed to develop to the chalimus stages and complete its lifecycle. Challenges utilising the mobile pre-adult stage were similarily unsuccesful in allowing L. salmonis to moult to the adult stage on these atypical hosts. Previous work conducted on Pacific three-spined sticklebacks demonstrated the species could support large burdens. In infection trials with three-spined sticklebacks from Scotland’s west coast, settlement was found to be low, which suggests they play no role in the Scottish inshore infection dynamics of L. salmonis. These series of studies provide novel and timely data on the biology and infection dynamics of L. salmonis on typical and atypical hosts in Scottish marine aquaculture areas. The data will form part of the knowledge used to make informed pest management and policy decisions assisting the future development of the aquaculture industry in Scotland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atlantic salmon ; Salmon farming ; Salmon stock management