Research Projects
NSERC Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network

Research Projects

Project Title: 
Use of blue mussels as a biological means to reduce the horizontal transmission of
Loma salmonae (agent of Microsporidial Gill Disease of Salmon) (D1P5)

Project Description:
As a general hypothesis, it is likely that the transmission of pathogens – and in particular the exchange of pathogens between the farm site and the “near-farm” environment – could be modified through IMTA practices. This may apply best, or alternatively may be most successfully modeled, for those organisms which possess methods of infection/transmission that allow extended periods of extracorporeal (off-host) survival and for which the severity of infection is quantifiable as a continuous outcome and directly (linearly) related to exposure to infectious dose. Given these considerations, the disease known as Microsporidial Gill Disease of Salmon (MGDS), a serious endemic gill disorder in marine netpen reared and wild Chinook (and other Pacific) salmon, has potential as a model through which to better understand disease transmission in this modified aquaculture setting. Our goal is to develop a suitable laboratory in vivo branchial xenoma expressionmodel for MGDS and use it to explore our specific aims which include determining to what extent blue mussels may remove, deactivate, or retain Loma spores released from infected fish. Additionally, we also seek a further understanding of the temporal kinetics of spore survival in marine environments and sediments, in addition to their survival (as determined through infectivity) within/on structures that may be used in IMTA settings.

Project Leader Name: 
David Speare, University of Prince Edward Island, Atlantic Veterinary College

Project Leader e-mail Contact: 

Team Members’ Names and Affiliations (researchers and students):
Dr. Jan Lovy (UPEI-AVC research associate)
Dr. Nicole Guselle (UPEI-AVC research technician)
Emily Ball (UPEI-AVC graduate student)
Lauren Collins (UPEI-AVC Pfizer Health summer research scholar)

(Monoclonal antibody stained spores of Loma salmonae within a xenoma developing within the gill microvasculature.  - Credits: David Speare)

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