Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is the primary finfish aquaculture species across the UK, Canada, Scandinavia and Chile. Nutrition is a major consideration in Salmonid aquaculture: efficient nutrient transfer in terms of feed-to-weight ratios, as well as the provision of non-marine protein sources, are vital to mitigate the impact of salmon farming. Furthermore, communicable disease has an increasing impact on farmed fish, with several emergent microbial and macro-pathogens in circulation.
Like the human gut microbiome project, an understanding of the S. salar microbiome will provide insight into the role microbial species have in nutrient absorption, metabolism, immunity and disease. Unlike in humans, where much of the microbiome is transmitted to juveniles within families and social groups, S. salar must recruit all of their commensal bacteria from the external environment to cope with the challenges of the varied ecotypes they exploit.
One of our research aims is to explore the ontogeny of the S. salar gut microbiota across its natural range, whilst taking into account life-history stages, including juveniles from marine, and freshwater environment.
Taxonomic classification and abundance of microbial OTUs (a) and taxonomic diversity of microbial OTUs (b) among different S. Salar life stages and across different locations (c).