Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Impacts of the Marine Hatchery Built Environment, Water and Feed on Mucosal Microbiome Colonization Across Ontogeny in Yellowtail Kingfish, Seriola lalandi


The fish gut microbiome is impacted by a number of biological and environmental factors including fish feed formulations. Unlike mammals, vertical microbiome transmission is largely absent in fish and thus little is known about how the gut microbiome is initially colonized during hatchery rearing nor the stability throughout growout stages. Here we investigate how various microbial-rich surfaces from the built environment "BE" and feed influence the development of the mucosal microbiome (gill, skin, and digesta) of an economically important marine fish, yellowtail kingfish, Seriola lalandi, over time. For the first experiment, we sampled gill and skin microbiomes from 36 fish reared in three tank conditions, and demonstrate that the gill is more influenced by the surrounding environment than the skin. In a second experiment, fish mucous (gill, skin, and digesta), the BE (tank side, water, inlet pipe, airstones, and air diffusers) and feed were sampled from indoor reared fish at three ages (43, 137, and 430 dph; n = 12 per age). At 430 dph, 20 additional fish were sampled from an outdoor ocean net pen. A total of 304 samples were processed for 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Gill and skin alpha diversity increased while gut diversity decreased with age. Diversity was much lower in fish from the ocean net pen compared to indoor fish. The gill and skin are most influenced by the BE early in development, with aeration equipment having more impact in later ages, while the gut "allochthonous" microbiome becomes increasingly differentiated from the environment over time. Feed had a relatively low impact on driving microbial communities. Our findings suggest that S. lalandi mucosal microbiomes are differentially influenced by the BE with a high turnover and rapid succession occurring in the gill and skin while the gut microbiome is more stable. We demonstrate how individual components of a hatchery system, especially aeration equipment, may contribute directly to microbiome development in a marine fish. In addition, results demonstrate how early life (larval) exposure to biofouling in the rearing environment may influence fish microbiome development which is important for animal health and aquaculture production.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View