Exploring the causes of Red Vent Syndrome in wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) from coastal waters around Scotland

  "In 2005, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) migrating to the UK exhibited swollen, haemorrhagic vents, symptoms not previously recorded. Subsequently referred to as Red Vent Syndrome (RVS), it has been observed in Canada, Iceland and Ireland amongst others. RVS is associated with the parasitic nematode Anisakis simplex- one of the most abundant parasites within the marine environment- found in extensive numbers within the vent region. The infestation of the vent region is novel and the expression of RVS has not been prevalent in other fish species.
A number of hypotheses have been proposed for the causes of RVS, including ‘hyper-infestation’ of Atlantic salmon by Anisakis and oceanic warming, however, the definitive cause/causes has not been concluded. My research project aims to uncover the causative factors behind RVS, utilising a wide range of techniques encompassing various disciplines. These will include immunology to investigate differences in cytokine expression between individuals and species, genetics to analyse any potential hybridisation exhibited by Anisakis found in the vent, and taxonomy to identify differences in parasite fauna and burden found in S. salar from the different coasts around Scotland.
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  • Dates:

    2014 to 2018

  • Qualification:

    Doctorate (PhD)

Project Team