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      Ecological theory as a foundation to control pathogenic invasion in aquaculture


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          Detrimental host–pathogen interactions are a normal phenomenon in aquaculture animal production, and have been counteracted by prophylactic use of antibiotics. Especially, the youngest life stages of cultivated aquatic animals are susceptible to pathogen invasion, resulting in disease and mortality. To establish a more sustainable aquatic food production, there is a need for new microbial management strategies that focus on ‘join them' and not the traditional ‘beat them' approaches. We argue that ecological theory could serve as a foundation for developing sustainable microbial management methods that prevent pathogenic disease in larviculture. Management of the water microbiota in aquaculture systems according to ecological selection principles has been shown to decrease opportunistic pathogen pressure and to result in an improved performance of the cultured animals. We hypothesize that manipulation of the biodiversity of the gut microbiota can increase the host's resistance against pathogenic invasion and infection. However, substantial barriers need to be overcome before active management of the intestinal microbiota can effectively be applied in larviculture.

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          Most cited references40

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          Probiotic bacteria as biological control agents in aquaculture.

          There is an urgent need in aquaculture to develop microbial control strategies, since disease outbreaks are recognized as important constraints to aquaculture production and trade and since the development of antibiotic resistance has become a matter of growing concern. One of the alternatives to antimicrobials in disease control could be the use of probiotic bacteria as microbial control agents. This review describes the state of the art of probiotic research in the culture of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and live food, with an evaluation of the results obtained so far. A new definition of probiotics, also applicable to aquatic environments, is proposed, and a detailed description is given of their possible modes of action, i.e., production of compounds that are inhibitory toward pathogens, competition with harmful microorganisms for nutrients and energy, competition with deleterious species for adhesion sites, enhancement of the immune response of the animal, improvement of water quality, and interaction with phytoplankton. A rationale is proposed for the multistep and multidisciplinary process required for the development of effective and safe probiotics for commercial application in aquaculture. Finally, directions for further research are discussed.
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            Species diversity and biological invasions: relating local process to community pattern.

            J M Levine (2000)
            In a California riparian system, the most diverse natural assemblages are the most invaded by exotic plants. A direct in situ manipulation of local diversity and a seed addition experiment showed that these patterns emerge despite the intrinsic negative effects of diversity on invasions. The results suggest that species loss at small scales may reduce invasion resistance. At community-wide scales, the overwhelming effects of ecological factors spatially covarying with diversity, such as propagule supply, make the most diverse communities most likely to be invaded.
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              A niche for neutrality.

              Ecologists now recognize that controversy over the relative importance of niches and neutrality cannot be resolved by analyzing species abundance patterns. Here, we use classical coexistence theory to reframe the debate in terms of stabilizing mechanisms (niches) and fitness equivalence (neutrality). The neutral model is a special case where stabilizing mechanisms are absent and species have equivalent fitness. Instead of asking whether niches or neutral processes structure communities, we advocate determining the degree to which observed diversity reflects strong stabilizing mechanisms overcoming large fitness differences or weak stabilization operating on species of similar fitness. To answer this question, we propose combining data on per capita growth rates with models to: (i) quantify the strength of stabilizing processes; (ii) quantify fitness inequality and compare it with stabilization; and (iii) manipulate frequency dependence in growth to test the consequences of stabilization and fitness equivalence for coexistence.

                Author and article information

                ISME J
                ISME J
                The ISME Journal
                Nature Publishing Group
                December 2014
                03 June 2014
                1 December 2014
                : 8
                : 12
                : 2360-2368
                [1 ]Laboratory of Aquaculture and Artemia Reference Center, Ghent University , Ghent, Belgium
                [2 ]Department of Biotechnology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) , Trondheim, Norway
                Author notes
                [* ]Department of Animal Production, Ghent University, Rozier 44 , Ghent 9000, Belgium. E-mail: peter.deschryver@ 123456ugent.be
                Copyright © 2014 International Society for Microbial Ecology

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/


                Microbiology & Virology
                aquaculture,ecological theory,host–microbe,intestinal,larviculture,microbe–microbe


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