Suzanne L. Ishaq, Sarah Hosler, Adwoa Dankwa, Phoebe Jekielek, Damien C. Brady, Erin Grey, Hannah Haskell, Rachel Lashey-Rasher, Kyle Pepperman, Jennifer Perry, Brian Beal, Timothy Bowden.

2023. Bacterial community trends associated with sea scallop, Placopecten magellanicus, larvae in a hatchery system. Aquaculture Reports 32, 101693. 

Atlantic sea scallops, Placopecten magellanicus, are the most economically important marine bivalves along the northeastern coast of North America. Wild harvest landings generate hundreds of millions of dollars, and wild-caught adults and juvenile spat are increasingly being cultured in aquaculture facilities and coastal farms. However, the last two weeks of the larval maturation phase in hatcheries are often plagued by large mortality events. Research into other scallop- and aquacultured-species point to bacterial infections or altered functionality of microbial communities which associate with the host. Despite intense filtering and sterilization of seawater, and changing tank water every 48 h, harmful microbes can still persist in biofilms and mortality is still high. There are no previous studies of the bacterial communities associated with the biofilms growing in scallop hatchery tanks, nor studies with wild or hatchery sea scallops. We characterized the bacterial communities in veliger-stage wild or hatchery larvae, and tank biofilms using the 16 S rRNA gene V3-V4 region sequenced on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Hatchery larvae had lower bacterial richness (number of bacteria taxa present) than the wild larvae and tank biofilms, and hatchery larvae had a similar bacterial community (which taxa were present) to both wild larvae and tank biofilms. Bacterial richness and community similarity between tank samples fluctuated over the trial in repeated patterns of rise and fall, which showed some correlation to lunar cycle that may be a proxy for the effects of spring tides and trends in seawater bacteria and phages which are propagated into hatchery tanks. These results along with future work, will inform hatcheries on methods that will increase larval survival in these facilities, for example, implementing additional filtering or avoiding seawater collection during spring tides, to reduce bacterial taxa of concern or promote a more diverse microbial community which would compete against pathogens.

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