Recent advances in bivalve-microbiota interactions for disease prevention in aquaculture

In bivalves, no clear-cut functional role of microbiota has yet been identified, although many publications suggest that they could be involved in nutrition or immunity of their host. In the context of climate change, integrative approaches at the crossroads of disciplines have been developed to explore the environment-host-pathogen-microbiota system. Here, we attempt to synthesize work on (1) the current methodologies to analyse bivalve microbiota, (2) the comparison of microbiota between species, between host compartments and their surrounding habitat, (3) how the bivalve microbiota are governed by environmental factors and host genetics and (4) how host-associated microorganisms act as a buffer against pathogens and/or promote recovery, and could thereby play a role in the prevention of disease or mortalities.

Graphical abstract

Figure 2. Host and environmental factors acting on bivalve microbiota.
Some of these factors, alone or in combination, have been shown to lead to dysbiosis, diseases and recovery.

Highlights :

  • High-throughput sequencing technologies enabled research on bivalve-microbiota interactions.
  • Bivalve-microbiota interactions depend on host factors nested within each other.
  • Microbiota interaction with surrounding environment is important for bivalve health.
  • Recent studies highlight the involvement of oyster microbiota in disease resistance.
  • Microbiome studies will provide new strategies to improve bivalve aquaculture.

Référence :

Christine Paillard, Yannick Gueguen, K Mathias Wegner, David Bass, Alberto Pallavicini, Luigi Vezzulli, Isabelle Arzul. Recent advances in bivalve-microbiota interactions for disease prevention in aquaculture. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, Volume 73, 2022, Pages 225-232. ISSN 0958-1669.


Post-mortem storage conditions and cooking methods affect long-chain omega-3 fatty acid content in Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus)

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human health and are found especially in marine fish. They degrade easily over time and at high temperatures, but to what extent? This is what we tested on mackerel. The loss of omega-3 was not particularly high in the first few hours after the fishes were caught, but it was still best to store them as cold as possible. For cooking, it is better to grill the mackerel fillet with its skin than to steam it. Bon appétit !



Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) are health beneficial lipids found in high concentration in pelagic fishes, including Atlantic mackerel. While EPA and DHA are sensitive to oxidation during fish storage and processing, post-mortem degradation in the first hours following fish death is poorly documented. Here, we stored fish at two temperatures (2–4 °C and 18–20 °C) and monitored EPA + DHA content in dorsal fillet 6, 12 and 24 h after fish death and after cooking (grill or steam). Storage duration was the only influencing factor, and EPA + DHA loss was faster at 18–20 °C. Six hours after fish death, EPA + DHA content decreased by 1.3 ± 1.3 mg.g−1 dw (9.6 ± 9.5% of the initial content) but it was highly variable among individuals. Handling between fishing and storage should be as short and as cool as possible to preserve EPA + DHA and food safety. Regarding cooking, EPA + DHA and mono-unsaturated fatty acids increased in grilled fillets.


Graphical abstract

Fig.1: Outline of the sampling design testing for the influence of storage temperature (2–4 ◦C and 18–20 ◦C), storage duration (from T6 to T24 hours), and cooking method (grill and steam) on the fatty acid content of the Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus. Dark squares indicate the muscle sampling position at each step, and the grey ones the previously sampled positions. For cooking, we sampled the left side of the fish.



  • Storage duration (< 24h) had a higher impact than storage temperature on EPA + DHA content in mackerel dorsal fillet.
  • EPA + DHA and mono-unsaturated fatty acids content increased in grilled fillets.
  • EPA + DHA losses in mackerel dorsal fillet were highly variable among individuals.



Fany Sardenne, Eleonora Puccinelli, Marie Vagner, Laure Pecquerie, Antoine Bideau, et al.. Post-mortem storage conditions and cooking methods affect long-chain omega-3 fatty acid content in Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus). Food Chemistry, Elsevier, 2021, 359, pp.129828. ⟨10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.129828⟩.

The article is also available in open access on HAL :

Foraging depths of pelagic sharks: Insights from mercury stable isotopes

Blue shark (Prionace glauca)


The decline of shark populations in the world ocean is affecting ecosystem structure and function in an unpredictable way and new ecological information is today needed to better understand the role of sharks in their habitats. In particular, the characterization of foraging patterns is crucial to understand and foresee the evolution of dynamics between sharks and their prey. Many shark species use the mesopelagic area as a major foraging ground but the degree to which different pelagic sharks rely on this habitat remains overlooked. In order to depict the vertical dimension of their trophic ecology, we used mercury stable isotopes in the muscle of three pelagic shark species (the blue shark Prionace glauca, the shortfin mako shark Isurus oxyrinchus and the smooth hammerhead shark Sphyrna zygaena) from the northeastern Pacific region. The Δ199Hg values, ranging from 1.40 to 2.13‰ in sharks, suggested a diet mostly based on mesopelagic prey in oceanic habitats. We additionally used carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N) alone or in combination with Δ199Hg values, to assess resource partitioning between the three shark species. Adding Δ199Hg resulted in a decrease in trophic overlap estimates compared to those based on δ13C/δ15N alone, demonstrating that multi-isotope modeling is needed for accurate trophic description of the three species. Mainly, it reveals that they forage at different average depths and that resource partitioning is mostly expressed through the vertical dimension within pelagic shark assemblages. Concomitantly, muscle total mercury concentration (THg) differed between species and increased with feeding depth. Overall, this study highlights the key role of the mesopelagic zone for shark species foraging among important depth gradients and reports new ecological information on trophic competition using mercury isotopes. It also suggests that foraging depth may play a pivotal role in the differences between muscle THg from co-occurring high trophic level shark species.


Graphical abtsract



– δ13C, δ15N, Δ199Hg and δ202Hg were determined in three pelagic shark species.
– Hg isotopes suggest that these shark species forage on mesopelagic prey.
– δ13C and δ15N overestimate overlaps between trophic niches.
– Differences in foraging depth better explain resource partitioning.
– Foraging depth influences mercury contamination level.



Lucien Besnard, Gaël Le Croizier, Felipe Galván-Magaña,David Point,Edouard Kraffe, James Ketchum, Raul Octavio Martinez Rincon, Gauthier Schaal. Foraging depth depicts resource partitioning and contamination level in a pelagic shark assemblage: Insights from mercury stable isotopes. Environmental Pollution, Volume 283, 2021, 117066. ISSN 0269-7491.

Sound detection by the American lobster (Homarus americanus)


Although many crustaceans produce sounds, their hearing abilities and mechanisms are poorly understood, leaving uncertainties regarding whether or how these animals use sound for acoustic communication. Marine invertebrates lack gas-filled organs required for sound pressure detection, but some of them are known to be sensitive to particle motion. Here, we examined whether the American lobster (Homarus americanus) could detect sound and subsequently sought to discern the auditory mechanisms. Acoustic stimuli responses were measured using auditory evoked potential (AEP) methods. Neurophysiological responses were obtained from the brain using tone pips between 80 and 250 Hz, with best sensitivity at 80–120 Hz. There were no significant differences between the auditory thresholds of males and females. Repeated controls (recordings from deceased lobsters, moving electrodes away from the brain and reducing seawater temperature) indicated the evoked potentials’ neuronal origin. In addition, AEP responses were similar before and after antennules (including statocysts) were ablated, demonstrating that the statocysts, a long-proposed auditory structure in crustaceans, are not the sensory organs responsible for lobster sound detection. However, AEPs could be eliminated (or highly reduced) after immobilizing hairfans, which cover much of lobster bodies. These results suggest that these external cuticular hairs are likely to be responsible for sound detection, and imply that hearing is mechanistically possible in a wider array of invertebrates than previously considered. Because the lobsters’ hearing range encompasses the fundamental frequency of their buzzing sounds, it is likely that they use sound for intraspecific communication, broadening our understanding of the sensory ecology of this commercially vital species. The lobsters’ low-frequency acoustic sensitivity also underscores clear concerns about the potential impacts of anthropogenic noise.

Fig. 5. AEP responses from H. americanus to acoustic stimuli similar to the buzzing sounds they are known to produce. AEP responses from three lobsters (blue, purple and black curves) are shown.

Youenn Jézéquel, Ian T. Jones, Julien Bonnel, Laurent Chauvaud, Jelle Atema, T. Aran Mooney.Sound detection by the American lobster (Homarus americanus). Journal of Experimental Biology 2021 224: jeb240747. doi: 10.1242/jeb.240747 Published 25 March 2021

Relationship between membrane n-3 HUFA content and mitochondrial efficiency


The relationship between membrane fatty acid content and mitochondrial efficiency differs within- and between- omega-3 dietary treatments



An important, but underappreciated, consequence of climate change is the reduction in crucial nutrient production at the base of the marine food chain: the long-chain omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (n-3 HUFA). This can have dramatic consequences on consumers, such as fish as they have limited capacity to synthesise n-3 HUFA de novo. The n-3 HUFA, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), are critical for the structure and function of all biological membranes. There is increasing evidence that fish will be badly affected by reductions in n-3 HUFA dietary availability, however the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Hypotheses for how mitochondrial function should change with dietary n-3 HUFA availability have generally ignored ATP production, despite its importance to a cell’s total energetics capacity, and in turn, whole-animal performance. Here we (i) quantified individual variation in mitochondrial efficiency (ATP/O ratio) of muscle and (ii) examined its relationship with content in EPA and DHA in muscle membrane of a primary consumer fish, the golden grey mullet Chelon auratus, receiving either a high or low n-3 HUFA diet. Mitochondria of fish fed on the low n-3 HUFA diet had higher ATP/O ratio than those of fish maintained on the high n-3 HUFA diet. Yet, mitochondrial efficiency varied up about 2-fold among individuals on the same dietary treatment, resulting in some fish consuming half the oxygen and energy substrate to produce the similar amount of ATP than conspecific on similar diet. This variation in mitochondrial efficiency among individuals from the same diet treatment was related to individual differences in fatty acid composition of the membranes: a high ATP/O ratio was associated with a high content in EPA and DHA in biological membranes. Our results highlight the existence of interindividual differences in mitochondrial efficiency and its potential importance in explaining intraspecific variation in response to food chain changes.


Figure 2: A golden grey mullet’s mitochondrial efficiency of ATP production under Low and High n-3 HUFA diet is related to the n-3 content (docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3)) of its membrane phospholipids, with individuals that have mitochondria with higher ability to make ATP had higher membrane n-3 content.



Salin K, Mathieu-Resuge M, Graziano N, Dubillot E, Le Grand F, Soudant P, Vagner M. 2020. The relationship between membrane fatty acid content and mitochondrial efficiency differs within- and between- omega-3 dietary treatments. Marine Environmental Research:105205.