In this project, skeletal deformities of various causal relations (temperature, dietary mineral supply, water quality) will be induced in salmon, and development of vertebral lesions will be studied. Particular attention will be paid to platyspondylia, so far seen only in salmon towards harvest size.
In cod, the understanding of causality for skeletal deformities is far less advanced. Two factors of suspected importance will be studied experimentally, dietary mineral supply in fast-growing juveniles, and hyperoxic rearing conditions.
The project will seek to identify mechanisms of abnormal development compared to normal. The approach will be multi-leveled, involving a number of methods ranging from gross pathology and radiography to histology, immunohistochemistry, qPCR and knock-down of specific genes in vitro. Comparative aspects between salmon and cod will be utilized throughout.
The results will have important implications for sustaining a cceptable welfare for farmed salmon and cod, and will contribute towards providing the industry with know-how on how to prevent these conditions as well as more accurate diagnostic tools. A web-based information service will be established, to serve as a channel for progress in research in the field of deformities in farmed salmon and cod.