Friday, 14 February 2020

Wallace Coffee Talks - 25th January 2020

Wallace Coffee Talks - Winter 2020
25th January - 1pm - Zoology Museum

Fancy a cup of coffee or tea and learning more about the researchers at Swansea university? Come join us at the Wallace coffee talks: an informal seminar series where students, staff and others related to Swansea university speak about their research or personal interests.

Carolina Gutierrez
Development and validation of an Operational Welfare Score Index (LOWSI) for farmed lumpfish Cyclopterus lumpus L.
Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L.) are widely used for sea lice control in commercial salmon farming, but their welfare is often challenged by poor husbandry, stress and disease outbreaks, compromising their ability to delouse salmon and causing public concern. For this reason, it is extremely important to identify when the welfare of the lumpfish is compromised in a practical and effective way, so corrective actions can be taken reducing stress-related mortalities and improving the sustainability of the industry. This talk will present the Lumpfish Operational Welfare Score Index (LOWSI) we have developed based on a Likert-scale assessment of skin and fin damage, eye condition, sucker deformities and relative weight. 

Alex Purdie 
Growing sea lice in the laboratory to support the aquaculture industry  
Sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, are an obligate ectoparasite of salmonids which costs the salmon farming industry millions of pounds every year. At low infection density (ca. 5-10 per fish) lice induce stress and form ulcers which can lead to secondary infections, at higher infection densities (ca. 100 per fish) lice can kill their host. Salmon cages stock fish at a high density, this provides the lice with a bountiful and easy to reach supply of hosts, causing lice populations to increase dramatically, often with hundreds of lice per fish. These epizootic episodes are costly for the farms and also increase infection rates in wild salmonid populations – this has been linked to the decline of some wild populations. New and improved sea lice controls are therefore required, and to develop these the industry needs a reliable supply of lice to test treatments on. However, the only way to culture lice is by using a live host salmonid, this leads to a high cost per louse and serious ethical issues. This talk will cover an MRes project which aims to culture sea lice in the laboratory without the use of a host. It will explore the key stages required to close the loop in this parasitic life cycle, notably by providing a reliable source of food for the lice which contains both nutrients to feed the lice and can induce the lice to attack it as if it were a salmon. If successful, the aquaculture industry will have a new reliable source of lice to use in the laboratory, which is both cheaper and more humane than the current system. 

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