The objective of the project is to study the evolution of vibrio virulence in relation to hollow oysters as hosts and phages as predators. This should determine whether
- pathogenic genotypes of vibrios are emerging in areas heavily impacted by the disease;
- vibrios and oysters co-evolve;
- vibrios-phage infection networks are more strongly connected in co-occurring phages with their host;
- the elimination of a pathogenic population (V. crassostreae) by a cocktail of phages increases the survival of oysters.
To do this, we will use approaches that combine population modelling, comparative and functional genomics analyses and experimental pathology.
- we will explore the structure of vibrio populations in oysters and the water column of 3 areas (Brest, Texel, Sylt) affected by a disease gradient and study the diversity of V. crassostreae
- we will carry out cross-infections using oysters produced in the laboratory from breeding stock in Brest, Texel (Netherlands) and Sylt (Germany) and isolated vibrios from these 3 areas
- we will study the spatio-temporal differences in phages-V. crassostreae infection networks and test the effect of a cocktail of phages on the disease.