Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Salmonidae


Enteric redmouth disease (ERM), caused by Yersinia ruckeri, is among the most important infectious diseases in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss aquaculture in Europe. Our aim was to analyse the persistence of Y. ruckeri strains in trout farms in northwest Germany and their dissemination between farms based on a detailed molecular and phenotypical characterisation scheme. The data on identification and characterisation of Y. ruckeri strains and examining the distribution of these strains in the field could serve as a basis for preventive disease monitoring plans. During the observation period from June 2011 until June 2012, we collected 48 Y. ruckeri isolates from 12 different rainbow trout hatcheries. In total, 44 (91.7%) of the isolates were non-motile; in particular, all isolates recovered during the sampling period in winter and early spring were non-motile. In several trout farms, characteristic farm-specific Y. ruckeri isolates from particular typing groups were isolated throughout the year, while in other farms, which had a trading relationship between each other, ERM outbreaks were caused by Y. ruckeri from the same typing group. Our data indicate that in some farms, the causative Y. ruckeri strains persisted in the respective trout farm. The presence of Y. ruckeri from the same typing group in farms with a trading relationship indicates a dissemination of the infection between the farms.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Infection, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Salmonidae, Rainbow trout, Cutthroat trout, Enteric redmouth disease


Diet implementation with insect meal arouses increased attention in aquaculture considering the advantages of this new protein source. The effect of Hermetia illucens meal (HI) inclusion in diets on rainbow trout physical-chemical and sensory properties was evaluated. Three diets were prepared: HI0, HI25, HI50, with 0, 25 and 50% of HI replacing fish meal, respectively. Fillet sensory profiles were described by descriptive analysis (DA) and Temporal Dominance of Sensation (TDS) methods. Cooking Loss, WB-Shear Force, proximate analysis, fatty acid composition were also determined.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acid, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Salmonidae, Aquaculture, Rainbow trout, Cutthroat trout


The Columbia River and its tributaries provide essential spawning and rearing habitat for many salmonid species, including Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Chinook salmon were historically abundant throughout the basin and Native Americans in the region relied heavily on these fish for thousands of years. Following the arrival of Europeans in the 1800s, salmon in the basin experienced broad declines linked to overfishing, water diversion projects, habitat destruction, connectivity reduction, introgression with hatchery-origin fish, and hydropower development. Despite historical abundance, many native salmonids are now at risk of extinction. Research and management related to Chinook salmon is usually explored under what are termed “the four H’s”: habitat, harvest, hatcheries, and hydropower; here we explore a fifth H, history. Patterns of prehistoric and contemporary mitochondrial DNA variation from Chinook salmon were analyzed to characterize and compare population genetic diversity prior to recent alterations and, thus, elucidate a deeper history for this species. A total of 346 ancient and 366 contemporary samples were processed during this study. Species was determined for 130 of the ancient samples and control region haplotypes of 84 of these were sequenced. Diversity estimates from these 84 ancient Chinook salmon were compared to 379 contemporary samples. Our analysis provides the first direct measure of reduced genetic diversity for Chinook salmon from the ancient to the contemporary period, as measured both in direct loss of mitochondrial haplotypes and reductions in haplotype and nucleotide diversity. However, these losses do not appear equal across the basin, with higher losses of diversity in the mid-Columbia than in the Snake subbasin. The results are unexpected, as the two groups were predicted to share a common history as parts of the larger Columbia River Basin, and instead indicate that Chinook salmon in these subbasins may have divergent demographic histories.

Concepts: DNA, Salmon, Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus, Salmonidae, Columbia River, Columbia Basin, British Columbia


Estimating diet composition is important for understanding interactions between predators and prey and thus illuminating ecosystem function. The diet of many species, however, is difficult to observe directly. Genetic analysis of fecal material collected in the field is therefore a useful tool for gaining insight into wild animal diets. In this study, we used high-throughput DNA sequencing to quantitatively estimate the diet composition of an endangered population of wild killer whales (Orcinus orca) in their summer range in the Salish Sea. We combined 175 fecal samples collected between May and September from five years between 2006 and 2011 into 13 sample groups. Two known DNA composition control groups were also created. Each group was sequenced at a ~330bp segment of the 16s gene in the mitochondrial genome using an Illumina MiSeq sequencing system. After several quality controls steps, 4,987,107 individual sequences were aligned to a custom sequence database containing 19 potential fish prey species and the most likely species of each fecal-derived sequence was determined. Based on these alignments, salmonids made up >98.6% of the total sequences and thus of the inferred diet. Of the six salmonid species, Chinook salmon made up 79.5% of the sequences, followed by coho salmon (15%). Over all years, a clear pattern emerged with Chinook salmon dominating the estimated diet early in the summer, and coho salmon contributing an average of >40% of the diet in late summer. Sockeye salmon appeared to be occasionally important, at >18% in some sample groups. Non-salmonids were rarely observed. Our results are consistent with earlier results based on surface prey remains, and confirm the importance of Chinook salmon in this population’s summer diet.

Concepts: Endangered species, Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Salmonidae, Whale, Killer whale, Beached whale, Michael Bigg


The teleost fishes represent over half of all extant vertebrates; they occupy nearly every body of water and in doing so, occupy a diverse array of environmental conditions. We propose that their success is related to a unique oxygen (O2) transport system involving their extremely pH-sensitive haemoglobin (Hb). A reduction in pH reduces both Hb-O2 affinity (Bohr effect) and carrying capacity (Root effect). This, combined with a large arterial-venous pH change (ΔpHa-v) relative to other vertebrates, may greatly enhance tissue oxygen delivery in teleosts (e.g., rainbow trout) during stress, beyond that in mammals (e.g., human). We generated oxygen equilibrium curves (OECs) at five different CO2 tensions for rainbow trout and determined that, when Hb-O2 saturation is 50% or greater, the change in oxygen partial pressure (ΔPO2) associated with ΔpHa-v can exceed that of the mammalian Bohr effect by at least 3-fold, but as much as 21-fold. Using known ΔpHa-v and assuming a constant arterial-venous PO2 difference (Pa-vO2), Root effect Hbs can enhance O2 release to the tissues by 73.5% in trout; whereas, the Bohr effect alone is responsible for enhancing O2 release by only 1.3% in humans. Disequilibrium states are likely operational in teleosts in vivo, and therefore the ΔpHa-v, and thus enhancement of O2 delivery, could be even larger. Modeling with known Pa-vO2 in fish during exercise and hypoxia indicates that O2 release from the Hb and therefore potentially tissue O2 delivery may double during exercise and triple during some levels of hypoxia. These characteristics may be central to performance of athletic fish species such as salmonids, but may indicate that general tissue oxygen delivery may have been the incipient function of Root effect Hbs in fish, a trait strongly associated with the adaptive radiation of teleosts.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Salmon, Salmonidae, Actinopterygii, Partial pressure, Niels Bohr


The disease Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) is causing substantial economic losses to the Norwegian salmon farming industry where the causative agent, piscine orthoreovirus (PRV), is reportedly spreading from farmed to wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) with as yet undetermined impacts. To assess if PRV infection is epidemiologically linked between wild and farmed salmon in the eastern Pacific, wild Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus sp.) from regions designated as high or low exposure to salmon farms and farmed Atlantic salmon reared in British Columbia (BC) were tested for PRV. The proportion of PRV infection in wild fish was related to exposure to salmon farms (p = 0.0097). PRV was detected in: 95% of farmed Atlantic salmon, 37-45% of wild salmon from regions highly exposed to salmon farms and 5% of wild salmon from the regions furthest from salmon farms. The proportion of PRV infection was also significantly lower (p = 0.0008) where wild salmon had been challenged by an arduous return migration into high-elevation spawning habitat. Inter-annual PRV infection declined in both wild and farmed salmon from 2012-2013 (p ≤ 0.002). These results suggest that PRV transfer is occurring from farmed Atlantic salmon to wild Pacific salmon, that infection in farmed salmon may be influencing infection rates in wild salmon, and that this may pose a risk of reduced fitness in wild salmon impacting their survival and reproduction.

Concepts: Fish, Salmon, Salmonidae, Pacific Ocean, Aquaculture, Atlantic salmon, Salmo, Fish farming


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


When inundated by floodwaters, river floodplains provide critical habitat for many species of fish and wildlife, but many river valleys have been extensively leveed and floodplain wetlands drained for flood control and agriculture. In the Central Valley of California, USA, where less than 5% of floodplain wetland habitats remain, a critical conservation question is how can farmland occupying the historical floodplains be better managed to improve benefits for native fish and wildlife. In this study fields on the Sacramento River floodplain were intentionally flooded after the autumn rice harvest to determine if they could provide shallow-water rearing habitat for Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Approximately 10,000 juvenile fish (ca. 48 mm, 1.1 g) were reared on two hectares for six weeks (Feb-March) between the fall harvest and spring planting. A subsample of the fish were uniquely tagged to allow tracking of individual growth rates (average 0.76 mm/day) which were among the highest recorded in fresh water in California. Zooplankton sampled from the water column of the fields were compared to fish stomach contents. The primary prey was zooplankton in the order Cladocera, commonly called water fleas. The compatibility, on the same farm fields, of summer crop production and native fish habitat during winter demonstrates that land management combining agriculture with conservation ecology may benefit recovery of native fish species, such as endangered Chinook salmon.

Concepts: Agriculture, Water, River, Salmon, Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus, Salmonidae, Floodplain


Sequence divergence was evaluated in the non-recombining, male-specific OmyY1 region of the Y chromosome among the subspecies of cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) in the western United States. This evaluation identified subspecies-discriminating OmyY1-haplotypes within a ∼1200bp region of the OmyY1 locus and localized the region to the end of the Y chromosome by FISH analysis. OmyY1 sequences were aligned and used to reconstruct a phylogeny of the cutthroat trout subspecies and related species via maximum-parsimony and Bayesian analyses. In the Y-haplotype phylogeny, clade distributions generally corresponded to the geographic distributions of the recognized subspecies. This phylogeny generally corresponded to a mitochondrial tree obtained for these subspecies in a previous study. Both support a clade of trout vs. Pacific salmon, of rainbow trout, and of a Yellowstone cutthroat group within the cutthroat trout. In our OmyY1 tree, however, the cutthroat “clade”, although present topologically, was not statistically significant. Some key differences were found between trees obtained from the paternally-inherited OmyY1 vs. maternally-inherited mitochondrial haplotypes in cutthroat trout compared to rainbow trout. Other findings are: The trout OmyY1 region evolves between 3 and 13 times slower than the trout mitochondrial regions that have been studied. The Lahontan cutthroat trout had a fixed OmyY1 sequence throughout ten separate populations, suggesting this subspecies underwent a severe population bottleneck prior to its current dispersal throughout the Great Basin during the pluvial phase of the last ice age. The Yellowstone group is the most derived among the cutthroat trout and consists of the Yellowstone, Bonneville, Colorado, Rio Grande and greenback subspecies. Identification of subspecies and sex with this Y-chromosome marker may prove useful in conservation efforts.

Concepts: Salmon, Oncorhynchus, Salmonidae, Rainbow trout, Cutthroat trout, Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Lahontan cutthroat trout, Greenback cutthroat trout


The conservation of endangered fish is of critical importance. Cryobanking could provide an effective backup measure for use in conjunction with the conservation of natural populations; however, methodology for cryopreservation of fish eggs and embryos has not yet been developed. The present study established a methodology capable of deriving functional eggs and sperm from frozen type A spermatogonia (ASGs). Whole testes taken from rainbow trout were slowly frozen in a cryomedium, and the viability of ASGs within these testes did not decrease over a 728-d freezing period. Frozen-thawed ASGs that were intraperitoneally transplanted into sterile triploid hatchlings migrated toward, and were incorporated into, recipient genital ridges. Transplantability of ASGs did not decrease after as much as 939 d of cryopreservation. Nearly half of triploid recipients produced functional eggs or sperm derived from the frozen ASGs and displayed high fecundity. Fertilization of resultant gametes resulted in the successful production of normal, frozen ASG-derived offspring. Feasibility and simplicity of this methodology will call for an immediate application for real conservation of endangered wild salmonids.

Concepts: Salmon, Salmonidae, Rainbow trout, Freezing, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation, Cryoprotectant, Ex-situ conservation