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Fisheries Ecology and Aquaculture

Imelda Rantty

Better understanding of the role of epidermal mucus in protection and fish welfare

Hi, I’m Imelda Rantty and currently I’m in Master’s Programme Aquaculture Biology. My supervisor is Prof Karin Pittman from University of Bergen. My study will provide a better understanding of the role of epidermal mucus in protection and fish welfare. It will show how fish innate immune response at various stages of disease treatment and determine whether the common practice in aquaculture (treatment with H2O2) will strengthen or weaken the immune system against parasite infection. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has been used against skin parasites and bacterial gill infections in salmonids. Harsh treatment using H2O2 might cause an adverse impact to the fish innate immunity leaving it so traumatized that it takes a long time for the fish to return to the normal state.The first line of defence of fish against pathogens are the physical barrier of skin, gills and gastrointestinal tract and their protection mechanisms associated with the innate immune defence system, the mucosal epithelium. A stereology-based method will be used for quantification of the skin components and mucous cells of salmonids. This will involve the mucosal mapping standard of the size, density and the barrier strength of the fish epithelia. The duration for the tissue to return to pre-treatment values from the treatment will be determined.