Fisheries and Aquaculture
Node Leader: James Tweedley (email)
Western Australia's pristine environments produce some of the highest quality cultured species. With the global demand for aquacultured fish, molluscs and crustaceans increasing annually, our research is helping to ensure the quality and health of the products are second to none.
Bacterial diseases in cultured yellowtail kingfish
PhD candidate: Nipa Gupta
The seacage culture of yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) is an emerging aquaculture industry in Australia. One of the major impediments to industry growth is disease, particularly from monogenean parasites (skin and gill flukes) and bacteria. My project, part of a larger FRDC-funded study into improving disease resistance in yellowtail kingfish, is investigating the determinants of virulence and host immune responses to infection in two bacterial species, Photobacterium damselae subspecies damselae and Vibrio harveyi. To date, I have characterised a number of isolates of these two pathogens phenotypically and genotypically and assessed virulence genes that might be responsible for pathogenicity. In the future, I will infect fish with one or both of these pathogens to correlate in-vitro and in-vivo findings. My project will also investigate the immune response of fish to these infections by multiple gene expression profiles.
Immunostimulants for protection against bacterial infection in cultured yellowtail kingfish
PhD candidate: Luke Pilmer
Photobacterium damselae subspecies piscicida (Pdp) is considered one of the most dangerous and economically important bacterial diseases of cultured yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi). I will be investigating the efficacy of feed supplements to boost the immune system of fish and provide resistance to infection with Pdd and other pathogens. The first step is to develop an antibacterial assay to determine the killing strength of YTK serum on Pdp, which will be used as an indicator of the ability of the fish to overcome the bacteria when challenged. Following the development of this assay, I plan to screen a variety of immunostimulants to determine which can help improve the immune response of YTK. The immunostimulants which show most promise will then be investigated in more detail to determine their mode of action and their efficacy when fish are challenged with Pdp.
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