Sea lice in aquaculture

Jar of copepods

Specimen jar containing copepod parasites, which live on the body surface of salmon and in large numbers can cause damage to the fish

Principal Investigator

Prof Geoff Boxshall

Project summary

  • Focus: The life cycle of sea lice, in order to determine how to minimise their impact on commercial aquaculture
  • Funding:
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  • End date:

We are studying the life cycle of sea lice, a prevalent and devastating threat to commercial aquaculture worldwide.

Whenever new fish are taken into marine aquaculture, sea lice are sure to follow. These parasitic copepods pose a major health hazard for finfish aquaculture globally, causing substantial economic loss when they strike fish farms.

We are researching sea lice in order to determine how to minimise their impact on commercial aquaculture.

We are focussing on:

  • the life cycle of sea lice in collaboration with groups in Japan and South Korea
  • revising the classification of sea lice using DNA sequence data
  • building an online interactive identification key for sea louse species

We have already identified that the life cycle of the salmon louse genus (Lepeophtheirus) contains two fewer stages than previously thought, which could help manage infestations.

Museum staff

Prof Geoff Boxshall

External collaborators

T Chad Walter
Smithsonian Institution

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