Cross Atlantic Sea Lice (CASL) which is funded by the Norwegian Research Council aims to increase collaboration in research relating to salmon lice.

CASL The initiative – between the University of Bergen, University of Victoria and University of Prince Edwards Island includes summer courses in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as three winter workshops that focus on developing proposals and collaborations. The first winter workshop took place in Prince Edwards Island last month focusing on developing new research collaboration to tackle the copepods.

“It is very important for the Norwegian Sea Lice Research Centre (SLRC) to establish close contact with Canadian scientists,” said Dr Susie Dalvin, a senior research scientist at the SLRC.

“Collaborations enhance the quality of our research but also open up opportunities to utilize new types of experimental infrastructure and resources. In the long term, this type of collaboration is essential to offer the aquaculture industry solutions to handle sea lice in a sustainable manner,” she added.

“The goal of the project is to develop collaborative research activities between leading researchers and research institutions involved in sea lice research in Canada and Norway; specifically, between the University of Bergen, Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of Victoria,” said Dr Shona Whyte, a senior research scientist at the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) and organizer of the first winter workshop.

“The diverse expertise of participants in sea lice biology, host-parasite interactions, functional genomics/molecular biology, pharmacology and nutrition makes this consortium a very strong entity,” she continued.

“We anticipate that the number of collaborative projects and future applications will be enhanced by the mobility of students, researchers and administrators to the partner universities,” she added.

“These face-to-face meetings provide a more productive environment to permit complex discussion, to ensure that all viewpoints are adequately explored, build consensus around research questions, share methodologies and tasks and identify gaps in current knowledge,” Whyte concluded.

Whyte noted that as part of the initiative, students involved will gain access to a broader range of research activities and techniques as well as being able to communicate with international experts in sea lice research.

“The project also includes industrial partners, which will ensure close contact between research activities and the end users and provide students and researchers with a personal network that can lead to future innovation projects”, said Whyte.

Student exchanges
Jordan Poley, a PhD candidate at UPEI, travelled to Bergen last summer as part of the first workshop series.

“It was so great to have an opportunity to learn about the newest and upcoming molecular technologies used in sea lice research,” Poley said to Fish Farming Expert. “These techniques are not only useful for [lice] research, but will be invaluable for any molecular application in the future.”

Dr Sara Purcell, a researcher and manager of the hosting lab at the AVC, will be traveling to the University of Bergen in the new year to work alongside researchers at the Sea Lice Research Centre.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn new techniques,” said Purcell. “I am really excited to travel to Bergen and collaborate with the researchers there”.

Next summer, students and researchers from the University of Bergen will have the same opportunity to learn new techniques at the Atlantic Veterinary College.