AIMS researchers identified of a new species of pathogenic bacterial strain, Vibrio owensii , recovered from moribund and dying cultured phyllosoma. Found throughout the world's oceans, in the hatchery, it can cause ~80-90% mortality of early stage larvae. The strain is closely related to the bacterial species Vibrio harveyi and Vibrio campbellii , which also cause large economical losses in the aquaculture industry worldwide.
Apart from identifying these new pathogenic bacteria, AIMS researchers have developed a fluorescent labelling technique to track them in real time, during infection and within the lobster larvae. ‘Now we know the species that causes disease we have the ability to fluoro tag them,' says research team leader Dr Mike Hall. ‘Tagging them allows us to understand how these pathogens are getting into the system and causing illness in the lobsters and allows us to implement microbial management methods to control and eliminate disease in the hatchery.'