Robust Salmon, Healthy Gills

Robust salmon have healthy gills

The mucosal surfaces (gills, skin, and intestines) represent the barrier between fish and the environment.  Therefore, it is critical for good health and welfare that mucosal surfaces are physically and immunologically strong. 

We are currently undertaking a pilot project focused on better understanding how post-smolt salmon fight infection and manage complex environmental and operational stress like delousing and lice pressure.  Understanding the relationship between microbes, water quality, and immune function is important during both the on-land and at- sea production.  Therefore, this pilot project sets the stage for further projects in molecular monitoring of salmon health and welfare.

Salmon Gill Health pilot project: We are working on a pilot project to establish a novel method of using gill swabs to collect mucus and cells for downstream qPCR identification of immune response biomarkers.  There is a need for non-invasive biomarkers which can act as an “early warning” indicator of inflammation, toxicity, or unmanageable stress.  In this project, we are analyzing changes in gene expression for secreted immune factors like mucins and immunoglobulins and cytokines by RT-qPCR. The gene expression transcript abundance will then be compared with histological signs of damage in order to find the threshold where an immune response is occurring but histological damage is absent or minimal.


Contact: Amanda Vang