Bacterial Communities of Ballan Wrasse (Labrus bergylta) Eggs at a Commercial Marine Hatchery

Aileen Bone, Michaël Bekaert, Athina Papadopoulou, Stuart McMillan, Alexandra Adams, Andrew Davie, Andrew P Desbois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Ballan wrasse (Labrus bergylta, Ascanius 1767) are cleaner fish cultured in northern Europe to remove sea lice from farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar, Linnaeus 1758). Despite increasing appreciation for the importance of the microbiota on the phenotypes of vertebrates including teleosts, the microbiota of wrasse eggs has yet to be described. Therefore, the aim of this present study was to describe the bacterial component of the microbiota of ballan wrasse eggs shortly after spawning and at 5 days, once the eggs had undergone a routine incubation protocol that included surface disinfection steps in a common holding tank. Triplicate egg samples were collected from each of three spawning tanks and analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that 88.6% of reads could be identified to 186 taxonomic families. At Day 0, reads corresponding to members of the Vibrionaceae, Colwelliaceae and Rubritaleaceae families were detected at greatest relative abundances. Bacterial communities of eggs varied more greatly between tanks than between samples deriving from the same tank. At Day 5, there was a consistent reduction in 16S rRNA gene sequence richness across the tanks. Even though the eggs from the different tanks were incubated in a common holding tank, the bacterial communities of the eggs from the different tanks had diverged to become increasingly dissimilar. This suggests that the disinfection and incubation exerted differential effects of the microbiota of the eggs from each tank and that the influence of the tank water on the composition of the egg microbiota was lower than expected. This first comprehensive description of the ballan wrasse egg bacterial community is an initial step to understand the role and function of the microbiota on the phenotype of this fish. In future, mass DNA sequencing methods may be applied in hatcheries to screen for pathogens and as a tool to assess the health status of eggs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Microbiology
Early online date23 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2020


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