SALMON LICE (LEPEOPHTHEIRUS SALMONIS)

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1 SALMON LICE (LEPEOPHTHEIRUS SALMONIS) Photo: Lars A. Hamre Adult female with egg strings

2 OVERVIEW: 1. Background: rapid expansion of salmon farming 2. Biology of salmon lice 3. Why are salmon lice a problem? 4. My own research: Salmon lice as model organism to understand life history evolution of parasites

3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqa4pl40ate

4 NORWEGIAN PRODUCTION OF ATLANTIC SALMON IN METRIC TONS FROM Source: Fiskeridirektoratet

5 APPROVED AQUACULTURE FACILITIES FOR SALMON, TROUT AND RAINBOW TROUT: Source: Fiskeridirektoratet

6 SALMON LICE BIOLOGY Salmon lice are naturally occurring ectoparasites on salmonids (Salmo trutta and Salmo salar) in the Northern Atlantic Graze on skin, mucosa and blood Member of the copepod family Caligidae Under natural conditions (i.e. no farming) the number of available hosts is low and seasonally variable - Salmon are anadromous and are therefore only in coastal waters during the migration, while there are small residential populations of sea trout

7 SALMON LICE REPRODUCTION Iteroparous and have sexual reproduction (separate sexes: males and females) Females are larger than males (Sexual size dimorphism) Female fecundity (the number of eggs produced) is correlated with body size After mating the female produce a matrix of eggs, called an egg string Could produce up to 11 pairs Each egg string could have up to 600 eggs (11*600=6600 eggs per female!) Larvae released into the water, hoping that some will find a suitable host

8 Photo: Mathias S. Ugelvik

9 Photo: Mathias S. Ugelvik

10 Photo: Mathias S. Ugelvik EGG STRING WITH EGGS

11 LIFE CYCLE: Eight development stages, separated by moulting: 2 nauplius stages 1 Copepodite stage (infective stage) 2 chalimus stages 2 pre-adult stages Adult stage (Reproductive stage) Hamre et al. 2013

12 VIRULENCE (I.E PARASITE INDUCED HOST DAMAGE) Skin damage (lesions), caused by adult lice grazing on the fish Which increase the chances for secondary infections ( bacteria and virus) Osmoregulatory stress (salt balance problems) In high numbers it could be lethal, especially for smolts entering the sea from the rivers Additionally, salmon lice have been suggested to affect both host immune system and behavior

13 WHY IS SALMON LICE AN IMPORTANT PEST ORGANISM? Enormous financial losses for the salmon farming industry The use of pesticides cause environmental problems Negative public opinion on salmon farming Negative impact on wild salmon populations Fish welfare

14 COSTELLO, 2009

15 COSTELLO, 2009

16 IN THE NEWS:

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20 LICE TREATMENTS Treatment against lice is either given in the feed (e.g. Slice, Emamectin benzoate), or as a bath (e.g. Hydrogen peroxide) Treatment given as feed is not spreading to the surrounding environment as easily as bath treatments. However, fish that are sick/have large number of lice normally have reduced appetite and thereby they get small amounts of the anti-lice drugs Bath treatments could be lethal for fish if not done correctly For most anti lice treatment, resistance has developed and it spreads rapidly between lice populations (arms race between lice and farmers) Lice treatments could negatively impact the ecological community surrounding the farm : Worry that it might damage other crustaceans (such as shrimps and lobsters) Could accumulate in the bottom sediment Traces found in organisms surrounding farms after treatment Potential implications for human health?

21 PUBLISHED TODAY:

22 STATENS LEGEMIDDELKONTROLL, 2000:

23 AAEN ET AL., 2015

24 TRANSMISSION BETWEEN WILD AND FARMED HOSTS There has been a rapid decline in wild salmon populations during the last decades, and salmon lice is believed to be one factor negatively affecting wild salmonids. Wild salmon populations are highly vulnerable, because there are genetic differences in salmon from different rivers Open net pens means that salmon lice and other parasites might easily spread from farmed to wild hosts The spread of larvae is depending on current velocity and direction and water temperature (Lice larvae develops slower in cold temperatures, but survive longer) Copepodits live longer than previously reported, which might have implications for future regulation

25 THE NUMBER OF LICE DEPENDS ON SEASON The number of lice increases during the production period (~2 years) and varies seasonally

26 NORWEGIAN REGULATION ON LICE DENSITY Regulation in Norway is 0.5 adult female per fish, which seems like a very low number However, what about the increasing amount of hosts available? In reality this means that even if the number of lice per fish is low, the total number of lice could still be extremely high

27 Could changes in the environment affect the evolution of lice life history?

28 LIFE HISTORY EVOLUTION All organisms are under selection to maximize fitness (i.e. life time reproductive success) This is achieved in different ways, depending on both the organism and the environment All parasites are depending on a host and therefore has to consider transmission to a new host

29 ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS? Farming has greatly increased the number of available hosts Which means that between host transmission is easier Decreased value of host? Since there are many host available, the parasite might cause more damage to the host without «paying» the cost Could slaughtering of hosts and the use of chemicals (shorter parasite lifespan) make the lice reproduce faster, and thus do more damage?

30 MY RESEARCH Aim: to use salmon lice as models to understand life history evolution of parasites There are a lot of research on salmon lice, but most are focusing on short term solutions and not on evolutionary and ecological hypothesis

31 EXPERIMENTAL SETUP

32 ORIGINS OF LICE STRAINS BLUE=LICE ORIGINATING FROM WILD HOSTS RED=LICE ORIGINATING FROM FARMED HOSTS

33 COMPARING WILD AND FARMED LICE STRAINS FOCUSING ON LIFE HISTORY TRAITS: Lice followed from the first to fifth reproductive event (egg string): Measured egg size Estimated fecundity (the number of eggs produced) Measured virulence (Host weight and length gain and skin damage) Measured lice body size and genital segment length Offspring quality (Infection success and larval survival)

34 COPEPODITE SURVIVAL

35 COPEPODITE SURVIVAL

36 Proportion of lice lost (± SE) ADULT LICE SURVIVAL IN RELATION TO DENSITY The proportion of lice lost over the first five reproductive events differed across origins (p=0.04), but was not significantly related to the initial number of female lice on the fish (p=0.90) Initial density (number of female lice)

37 LICE FECUNDITY IN RELATION TO LICE DENSITY "Bergen" "Frøya" Fecundity (± SE) "Oslo" "Scotland" Fecundity overall decreased with lice density (p<10-3 ) Fecundity (± SE) Density (number of female lice) Density (number of female lice)

38 SOLUTIONS? Always consider potentially evolutionary consequences of different management practices Reduce transmission of infective stages instead of killing the parasites Avoid resistance to evolve and spread by using anti-parasite treatments that are different in the way they target the parasite

39 SOLUTIONS? Fallowing (synchronized) and single year classes at a site Consider currents, distance between farm sites and migration route of wild salmonids when giving farming permissions Use treatments before lice number builds up (i.e. March/April) Use biological treatments, such as cleaner fish (Wrasse and lump suckers) Closed /onshore facilities (Would stop transmission between wild and farmed hosts) Keep the fish below the lice-belt (<4 meter), use of snorkel? Vaccines (proven very difficult on ectoparasites) Host selection for resistance (Hosts varies in lice sucpetibilty, however the heritability is low) Should combine different solutions, unlikely that one will fix the problem!

40 REFERENCE LIST: Costello, J. (2009) The global economic cost of sea lice to the salmonid farming industry. The journal of fish diseases, 32, Fiskeridirektoratet Statens legemiddelkontroll Hamre, L., Eichner, C., Caipang, C., Dalvin, S., Bron, J.,Nilsen, F., Boxshall, G., and Skern-Mauritzen (2013) The Salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Copepoda: Caligidae) life cycle has only two chalimus Stages. PLoS ONE, 8(9):e Aaen, S.M., Helgesen, K.O., Bakke, M.J., Kaur, K., Horsberg, T.E., Drug resistance in sea lice: a threat to salmonid aquaculture, Trends in Parasitology, Volume 31, Issue 2, February 2015, Pages 72-81

41 AVAILABLE AT: HTTPS://WWW.IDUNN.NO/NAT UR/2014/03/FOERER_INTENSIV _MATPRODUKSJON_TIL_MENN ESKESKAPT_EVOLUSJON

42 HOW MUCH DO I REMEMBER? Please take up your phone and go to: Thank you very much for your attention!

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