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Salmon in Etne
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Population genetics and ecology

This research group is looking into the structure and function of DNA in marine species, as well as using genetic approaches to study ecological and evolutionary processes. Other tasks include the genetic classification of wild populations and farmed species (including methods for tracing escaped fish), the behaviour, distribution and survival of organisms that escape from fish farms, and the evolutionary impacts of fishing.

The group consists of four specialist teams:

The Genome Team is working on the functional classification of genes, is studying the genetic structure of salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis), and has started work on the molecular identification and quantification of zooplankton.

The work on salmon lice is focused on:

  • Studying molecular processes and their regulation using standard and RNAi methodology
  • Laying the foundations for the development of a vaccine against salmon lice
  • Building up resources and developing methods for functional genome research in salmon lice
  • Sequencing the salmon louse genome (in cooperation with University of Bergen and the Max Planck Institute)

Teamleder: Rasmus Skern Mauritzen

The work on zooplankton is focused on:

  • Establishing assays and testing conceptual approaches

The Population Genetics Team is working on developing and applying genetic approaches to the study of ecological processes and to the genetic classification of wild populations and farmed species, including methods for tracing escaped fish:

  • Using genetic techniques to identify species and populations
  • Building genetic databases of important species for which Norway has management responsibility
  • Developing and applying genetic tools for tracing escaped farmed fish back to specific cages
  • Mapping genetic variation and kinship in breeding populations, and producing genetically defined experimental groups

Team leader: Kevin Glover

The Ecology Team is working closely with the Population Genetics Team to study ecological processes and the environmental impacts of fish farming:

  • Mapping the quantity, distribution and behaviour of escaped farmed organisms
  • Investigating the impact of aquaculture on population regulation in wild populations, including studies of the impact of sea lice on the survival of wild fish
  • Studying interactions between wild fish and escaped farmed fish

Team leader: Ove Skilbrei
The Evolutionary Impacts of Fishing Team is working on fundamental and practical questions in the field of marine and fisheries biology, with a main focus on the evolutionary consequences of fishing:

  • Mapping changes in the life history characteristics of harvested populations over time, and evaluating whether fishery-driven evolution is an important factor behind the changes
  • Developing statistical modelling tools to investigate the evolutionary impacts of fishing
  • Evolutionary fisheries ecology (EvoFish) at the University of Bergen

Team leader: Mikko Heino