Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Flavobacteria colonizing the early life stages of hatchery-incubated Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum 1792) are markedly diverse.

Abstract

Flavobacterial diseases are significant impediments to hatchery-based fishery conservation and aquaculture productivity worldwide. Recent studies revealed a multitude of novel flavobacteria within the reproductive fluids and unfertilized eggs of feral Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha broodstock, some of which were associated with systemic disease. Herein, embryonated eggs/fry from these broodstock were assayed for flavobacteria while in incubator stacks in three hatcheries over 2 years, as was the water entering hatchery incubators. Overall, >65% of sampled eggs and 38% of fry were colonized by flavobacteria. One hundred and ninety-one egg and fry-associated flavobacterial isolates were characterized phenotypically and via 16S rRNA gene sequencing and phylogenetic analyses, revealing that the majority fell into 22 clades (i.e., 15 Flavobacterium spp. groups and seven Chryseobacterium spp. groups) that varied in presence by facility. Although some matched previously described fish-pathogenic species, the majority were distinct from all described flavobacteria and likely represent novel species. Of concern, iodophor disinfection at the commonly utilized dose/duration for egg-surface disinfection did not eliminate flavobacteria. Results also implicated maternal routes of infection and source water for some flavobacteria. In total, study findings underscore the complexity of flavobacterial ecology within hatchery environments and highlight the need for improved hatchery biosecurity practices.