In aquaculture research, one of the horizons is to know what is necessary to allow the fish to grow and develop properly. The digestive tract houses a consortium of microorganisms that plays critical roles in the physiology of the host. Gut microbiota changes during the daily cycle, however, there is limited knowledge on short-term temporal variation in abundance and composition of the microbiota. It is now demonstrated that host-microbe interaction plays a major role in health and development of animals. The fact that bacteria-free fish need to eat 30% more than conventional animals to achieve the same growth, supports the key role of gut microbiota in digestion. The present proposal will help to understand the paradigm of host-microbiota interactions in the context of its role in the fish digestive processes.
Fish rearing and sampling will be performed at the visiting researcher's institution. Fish will be subjected to different feeding regimes and sampled at different time points for fecal microbiota analysis at NTNU. Seriola dumerili, a promising species for the diversification of Mediterranean aquaculture, will be used as experimental species.
This project will contribute to the development of the aquaculture sector by understanding the role of gut microbiota on the fish digestive process, contributing to improved growth performance and overall fish robustness. The collaboration will enable exchange expertise, new perspectives on research, and strengthen competence-building and internationalization.
The milestones of the present project are: 1) Experimentally: describe and analyse the composition of the fish gut microbiota with respect to sampling time and feeding regime. Based on predicted functionality, evaluate the possible contribution of gut microbiota in fish digestion process. 2) Institutionally: boost the existing collaboration between institutions, promoting future research collaboration within the funding framework of Horizon Europe and ERA-Net.