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Concept: Brown trout


The freshwater bryozoan Fredericella sultana (Blumenbach) is the most common invertebrate host of the myxozoan parasite Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, the causative agent of proliferative kidney disease in salmonid fish. Culture media play an important role in hatching of statoblasts and maintaining clean bryozoan colonies for Malacosporea research. We developed a novel culture medium, Bryozoan Medium C (BMC), for the cultivation and maintenance of F. sultana under laboratory conditions. Statoblasts of F. sultana were successfully hatched to produce transparent-walled, specific pathogen-free (SPF) colonies that were maintained >12 months in BMC at pH 6.65. Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae was successfully transmitted from infected brown trout, Salmo trutta L., to newly hatched F. sultana colonies in BMC, then from the infected bryozoan to SPF brown trout. This study demonstrated the utility of BMC (pH 6.65) for hatching statoblasts, long-term cultivation of clean and transparent bryozoan colonies and maintenance of the Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae life cycle in the laboratory for molecular genetic research and other studies such as host-parasiteinteraction.

Concepts: Fish, Salmo, Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Brook trout, Myxozoa, Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, Myxobolus cerebralis


Early juvenile growth is a good indicator of growth later in life in many species because larger than average juveniles tend to have a competitive advantage. However, for migratory species the relationship between juvenile and adult growth remains obscure. We used scale analysis to reconstruct growth trajectories of migratory sea trout (Salmo trutta) from six neighbouring populations, and compared the size individuals attained in freshwater (before migration) with their subsequent growth at sea (after migration). We also calculated the coefficient of variation (CV) to examine how much body size varied across populations and life stages. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that the CV on body size would differ between freshwater and marine environment, perhaps reflecting different trade-offs during ontogeny. Neighbouring sea trout populations differed significantly in time spent at sea and in age-adjusted size of returning adults, but not on size of seaward migration, which was surprisingly uniform and may be indicative of strong selection pressures. The CV on body size decreased significantly over time and was highest during the first 8 months of life (when juvenile mortality is highest) and lowest during the marine phase. Size attained in freshwater was negatively related to growth during the first marine growing season, suggesting the existence of compensatory growth, whereby individuals that grow poorly in freshwater are able to catch up later at sea. Analysis of 61 datasets indicates that negative or no associations between pre- and post-migratory growth are common amongst migratory salmonids. We suggest that despite a widespread selective advantage of large body size in freshwater, freshwater growth is a poor predictor of final body size amongst migratory fish because selection may favour growth heterochrony during transitions to a novel environment, and marine compensatory growth may negate any initial size advantage acquired in freshwater.

Concepts: Natural selection, Fish, Oceanography, Ocean, Salmo, Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Brook trout


Beaver have been referred to as ecosystem engineers because of the large impacts their dam building activities have on the landscape; however, the benefits they may provide to fluvial fish species has been debated. We conducted a watershed-scale experiment to test how increasing beaver dam and colony persistence in a highly degraded incised stream affects the freshwater production of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Following the installation of beaver dam analogs (BDAs), we observed significant increases in the density, survival, and production of juvenile steelhead without impacting upstream and downstream migrations. The steelhead response occurred as the quantity and complexity of their habitat increased. This study is the first large-scale experiment to quantify the benefits of beavers and BDAs to a fish population and its habitat. Beaver mediated restoration may be a viable and efficient strategy to recover ecosystem function of previously incised streams and to increase the production of imperiled fish populations.

Concepts: River, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Beaver, Dam, Rainbow trout, Golden trout, Brown trout


Interspecific hybridization is a route for transgenes from genetically modified (GM) animals to invade wild populations, yet the ecological effects and potential risks that may emerge from such hybridization are unknown. Through experimental crosses, we demonstrate transmission of a growth hormone transgene via hybridization between a candidate for commercial aquaculture production, GM Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and closely related wild brown trout (Salmo trutta). Transgenic hybrids were viable and grew more rapidly than transgenic salmon and other non-transgenic crosses in hatchery-like conditions. In stream mesocosms designed to more closely emulate natural conditions, transgenic hybrids appeared to express competitive dominance and suppressed the growth of transgenic and non-transgenic (wild-type) salmon by 82 and 54 per cent, respectively. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of environmental impacts of hybridization between a GM animal and a closely related species. These results provide empirical evidence of the first steps towards introgression of foreign transgenes into the genomes of new species and contribute to the growing evidence that transgenic animals have complex and context-specific interactions with wild populations. We suggest that interspecific hybridization be explicitly considered when assessing the environmental consequences should transgenic animals escape to nature.

Concepts: Fish, Salmon, Aquaculture, Atlantic salmon, Salmo, Rainbow trout, Trout, Brown trout


Gill disease in salmonids is characterized by a multifactorial aetiology. Epitheliocystis of the gill lamellae caused by obligate intracellular bacteria of the order Chlamydiales is one known factor; however, their diversity has greatly complicated analyses to establish a causal relationship. In addition, tracing infections to a potential environmental source is currently impossible. In this study, we address these questions by investigating a wild brown trout (Salmo trutta) population from seven different sites within a Swiss river system. One age class of fish was followed over 18 months. Epitheliocystis occurred in a site-specific pattern, associated with peak water temperatures during summer months. No evidence of a persistent infection was found within the brown trout population, implying an as yet unknown environmental source. For the first time, we detected ‘Candidatus Piscichlamydia salmonis’ and ‘Candidatus Clavochlamydia salmonicola’ infections in the same salmonid population, including dual infections within the same fish. These organisms are strongly implicated in gill disease of caged Atlantic salmon in Norway and Ireland. The absence of aquaculture production within this river system and the distance from the sea, suggests a freshwater origin for both these bacteria and offers new possibilities to explore their ecology free from aquaculture influences.

Concepts: Causality, Fish, Salmon, Salmonidae, Salmo, Trout, Brown trout, Brook trout


This study was conducted to characterize the features of muscle-specific genes expression during development of brown trout Salmo trutta inhabiting the river Krivoy ruchey (Kola Peninsula, Russia). Gene expression levels of myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs - MyoD1 paralogs (MyoD1a, MyoD1b, MyoD1c), Myf5, myogenin), myostatin paralogs (MSTN-1a, MSTN-1b, MSTN-2a), fast sceletal myosin heavy chain (MyHC) were measured in the white muscles of brown trout parr of ages 0+ (under-yearling), 1+ (yearling) and 2+ (two year old) and smolts of age 2+. Multidirectional changes in MyoD1 and MSTN paralogs expression along with myogenin, Myf 5 and MyHC expression levels in white muscles in parr of trout with age were revealed. The expression of MyoD1c, myogenin, MSTN-2a was the highest in 0+ parr and then decreased. MyoD1a/b expression levels didn’t differ between age groups. The simultaneous elevation of MyHC, Myf5, MSTN-1a, and MSTN-1b was found in trout yearlings. In smolts, expression levels of MSTN paralogs, MyHC, Myf5, MyoD1a was lower than in parr. But in contrast, the MyoD1c and myogenin mRNA levels was higher in smolts. The study revealed that there are definite patterns in simultaneous muscle-specific genes expression in age groups of parr and smolts. As MyoD and MSTN paralogs expression changed differently in dependence on age and stage, it was suggested that paralogs of the same gene complementarily control myogenesis during development.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Gene expression, Myosin, Salmo, MyoD, Brown trout, Myogenic regulatory factors


Worldwide, a number of viable populations of fish are found in environments heavily contaminated with metals, including brown trout (Salmo trutta) inhabiting the River Hayle in South-West of England. This population is chronically exposed to a water-borne mixture of metals, including copper and zinc, at concentrations lethal to naïve fish. We aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms employed by the River Hayle brown trout to tolerate high metal concentrations. To achieve this, we combined tissue metal analysis, with whole-transcriptome profiling, using RNA-seq on an Illumina platform. Metal concentrations in the Hayle trout, compared to fish from a relatively un-impacted river, were significantly increased in the gills, liver and kidney (63, 34 and 19 fold respectively), but not the gut. This confirms that these fish can tolerate considerable metal accumulation, highlighting the importance of these tissues in metal uptake (gill), storage and detoxification (liver, kidney). We sequenced, assembled and annotated the brown trout transcriptome, using a de novo approach. Subsequent gene expression analysis identified 998 differentially expressed transcripts, and functional analysis revealed that metal- and ion-homeostasis pathways are likely to be the most important mechanisms contributing to the metal tolerance exhibited by this population.

Concepts: Gene expression, Molecular biology, Fish, Copper, Salmo, Rainbow trout, RNA-Seq, Brown trout


Stocking is a worldwide activity on geographical and historical scales. The rate of non-native fish introductions have more than doubled over the last decades yet the effect on natural ecosystems, in the scope of biologically mediated transport and biomagnification of Hg and Hg-isotopes, is unknown. Using geochemistry (THg) and stable isotopes (N, Sr and Hg), we evaluate natal origin and trophic position of brown trout (Salmo trutta fario), as well as mercury biomagnification trends and potential pollution sources to three high-altitude lakes. Farmed trout show Hg-isotope signatures similar to marine biota whereas wild trout shows Hg-isotope signatures typical of fresh water lakes. Stocked trout initially show Hg-isotope signatures similar to marine biota. As the stocked trout age and shifts diet to a higher trophic level, THg concentrations increase and the marine Hg isotope signatures, induced via farm fish feed, shift to locally produced MeHg with lower δ(202)Hg and higher Δ(199)Hg. We conclude that stocking acts a humanly induced biovector that transfers marine Hg to freshwater ecosystems, which is seen in the Hg-isotopic signature up to five years after stocking events occurred. This points to the need of further investigations of the role of stocking in MeHg exposure to freshwater ecosystems.

Concepts: Fish, Ecology, Lake, Freshwater, Salmo, Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Brook trout


Salmonids are native from the North Hemisphere but have been introduced for aquaculture and sport fishing in the South Hemisphere and inhabit most rivers and lakes in temperate and cold regions worldwide. Five species are included in the Global Invasive Species Database: rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, Atlantic salmon Salmo salar, brown trout Salmo trutta, brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, and lake trout Salvelinus namaycush. In contrast, other salmonids are endangered in their native settings.

Concepts: Salmon, Salmonidae, Salmo, Rainbow trout, Trout, Brown trout, Salvelinus, Brook trout


Humans have exploited the earth’s metal resources for thousands of years leaving behind a legacy of toxic metal contamination and poor water quality. The southwest of England provides a well-defined example, with a rich history of metal mining dating to the Bronze Age. Mine water washout continues to negatively impact water quality across the region where brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) populations exist in both metal-impacted and relatively clean rivers. We used microsatellites to assess the genetic impact of mining practices on trout populations in this region. Our analyses demonstrated that metal-impacted trout populations have low genetic diversity and have experienced severe population declines. Metal-river trout populations are genetically distinct from clean-river populations, and also from one another, despite being geographically proximate. Using approximate Bayesian computation (ABC), we dated the origins of these genetic patterns to periods of intensive mining activity. The historical split of contemporary metal-impacted populations from clean-river fish dated to the Medieval period. Moreover, we observed two distinct genetic populations of trout within a single catchment and dated their divergence to the Industrial Revolution. Our investigation thus provides an evaluation of contemporary population genetics in showing how human-altered landscapes can change the genetic makeup of a species.

Concepts: Genetics, Biology, Fish, Middle Ages, Salmo, Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Brook trout