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January 16, 2017

From morphology to microbiome: integrated common garden-genomic studies in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

From morphology to microbiome integrated common garden-genomic studies in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) 400 x 400 px

Major advances in our understanding of how microbiota contribute to the living world have resulted from genomic advances. So-called second-generation sequencing now allows high throughput and cost-effective determination of diverse assemblages of microbiota, enabling determination of their ecological role.

Here, we plan to examine the microbiome, microorganisms colonsing a particular environment of the host (e.g. skin, gill, gut), in one of the world’s most important aquaculture species: the Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar.

Key questions relating to the composition, diversity and function of skin and gut microbiomes in wild, farmed and hybrid wild-farmed families will be examined using a combined common garden and genomics approach to tackle several questions by bringing together state of the art facilities in aquaculture (Institute of Marine Research, Bergen) and genomics (Bangor): (1) How different are the microbiomes of wild and farmed fish? (2) How does the origin (wild and farmed) and genetic characteristics of the host influence microbiome identity and ontogeny? (3) How does diet influence composition and diversity of microbiomes; (4) How do internal and external morphological features and organs of the wild-farmed-hybrid groups differ: (5) How can we use information from (1) – (4) to assess the risk of escapees, the survival of stocked fish and design of food to reduce environmental impact?

The project offers a wealth of opportunities for the student to gain knowledge of, and experience in, Genomics; Bioinformatics; Population genetics; Fish husbandry; Histology and Environmental Risk Assessment and Science Communication. The focus of translating conservation science into policy will equip the student with experience in science communication across stakeholders and end-users.

The studentship will be based in the Bangor MEFGL, (http://mefgl.bangor.ac.uk/), a world leader in the analyses of molecular data from aquatic biota. It offers a dynamic and supportive training environment for young scientists.

Essential skills are a minimum 2:1 BSc (or equivalent in Life Sciences), with good numerate skills and a strong enthusiasm for biodiversity and sustainability science. Desirable skills are population genetic, a desire to work with live animals, experimental or bioinformatics experience.

For further enquiries please contact Professor Gary Carvalho g.r.carvalho@bangor.ac.uk