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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03774

    Association of ectoparasite Lepeophtheirus salmonis counts on farmed Atlantic salmon and wild sea trout in Scotland

    Stephen C. Ives*, Alexander G. Murray, John D. Armstrong

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Parasitic sea lice (Copepoda: Caligidae) colonising marine salmonid (Salmoniformes: Salmonidae) aquaculture production facilities have been implicated as a possible pressure on wild salmon and sea trout populations. This investigation uses monitoring data from the mainland west coast, and western isles of Scotland to estimate the association of the abundance of adult female Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer) colonising farmed Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., with the occurrence of juvenile and mobile L. salmonis on wild sea trout, anadromous Salmo trutta L. The associations were evaluated using Generalized Linear Mixed Models incorporating farmed adult female salmon louse abundances which are temporally lagged relative to dependent wild trout values. The pattern of lags, which is consistent with time for L. salmonis development between egg and infective stage, was evaluated using model deviances. A significant positive association is identified between adult female L. salmonis abundance on farms and juvenile L. salmonis on wild trout. This association is consistent with a causal relationship in which increases in the number of L. salmonis copepodids originating from lice colonising farmed Atlantic salmon cause an increase of L. salmonis abundance on wild sea trout.