Protective effects of seaweed supplementation in European sea bass diets

Researchers of CIIMAR (Centro Interdisciplinar De Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, Portugal), ALGAPLUS Lda (Ílhavo, Portugal) and IATS Nutrigenomics group have reported the positive effects of 5% dietary supplementation of an aqueous extract of the seaweed Gracilaria sp on sea bass antioxidant capacity and resistance against a bacterial infection.

The study revealed that fish fed the Gracilaria extract showed a delay in mortality after infection with Photobacterium damselae. This beneficial effect was supported by plasma biochemical analysis, liver enzymatic assays and tissue gene expression data that pointed out an up-regulation of immune and antioxidant related pathways in fish fed the dietary supplement.

This work was partially funded by the IMPROV-SEABASS Transnational Access of AQUAEXCEL2020 project at IATS-CSIC facilities.

This study has been published in the Open Access journal Scientific Reports.

Closing lecture of Aquaculture Master by Jaume Pérez-Sánchez


Prof. Jaume Pérez Sánchez, from Instituto de Acuicultura Torre de la Sal (IATS-CSIC), gave the closing lecture of the Official Interuniversity (UAB-UB-UPC) Aquaculture Master , entitled “Nutrition and genetic selection. New tools and perspectives”.

IATS-Nutrigroup and Fish Pathology groups at AQUAEXCEL2020 Brokerage Event

The second AQUAEXCEL2020 brokerage event was celebrated at Aquaculture Europe 2019 in Berlin, as part of the EATiP Day (October 9th). This event provides an excellent opportunity to share with aquaculture industry stakeholders some of the many innovative outputs emerging from research within the AQUAEXCEL2020 project and through its Transnational Access (TNA) programme. The seven presented outputs had been selected by the AQUAEXCEL2020 Industry and Research Advisory Panel (IRAP) comprising professionals from the aquaculture industry and research sectors. Four of these outputs were derived from IATS-Nutrigroup and Pathology groups research and hosted TNAs.

Project Catalogues are available for download:

Defatted yellow mealworm larvae meal


Early life management protocol

Salmon AGD biomarkers

PhD student Ana Basto (CIIMAR) discussed outcomes of research from IATS-EXP TNA project INSECTFISH, focused on European sea bass feeding with mealworm Tenebrio molitor meal. The principal aim of this research was to assess the use of large quantities of insects as protein sources to replace fishmeal in diets for sea bass, and to examine possible effects on their growth and welfare. Dr. Josep Calduch-Giner presented a protocol for early life management for optimal fish performance, highlighting surprising findings in relation to low O2 (hypoxic) conditions at early life stages of gilthead sea bream and its impact later in life. In terms of fish disease, Dr. Carla Piazzon presented on gene expression analysis of Atlantic salmon gills, derived from IATS-ANA TNA project AGDBIOMAR, and how it reveals certain key molecules during amoebic gill disease, one of the main health challenges for the marine Atlantic salmon industry worldwide. It is expected that the findings could contribute to a more timely and accurate detection of the disease which will prevent stock losses and improve fish welfare. Results of this work were recently published in an Open Access publication.

In addition to the knowledge outputs, Professor Jaume Pérez-Sánchez, as AQUAEXCEL2020 WP8 leader, presented the AEFishBIT device to the audience, with a video and an exposition of latest results and applications of this patented biosensor in sea bream and sea bass. This tiny device is designed to be attached to the operculum of farmed fish for individual monitoring of their metabolic traits. The newly patented tool is the result of collaboration amongst biologists, engineers and bioinformaticians from two AQUAEXCEL2020 institutes.

After the event presentations, interactive polls with audience overall revealed a major interest in most of the presented outputs. The next and final AQUAEXCEL2020 industry brokerage event will be held at next year’s Aquaculture Europe 2020 event in Cork (Ireland), presenting the latest high-potential industry-relevant outputs that will be resulting from the final year of the project.


Prof. Jaume Pérez Sánchez from the Instituto de Acuicultura Torre de la Sal (IATS-CSIC) participates in the training course of Fish Nutrition organized in Saint Pée sur Nivelle.

He presented ongoing research in sea bream nutrition and genetic selection for reliable healthy phenotypes of farmed fish under intensive and sustainable production.

Such approaches are based on the use of wide range of omic technologies and new biosensor tools for the individual and non-invasive monitoring of farmed fish from cells to individuals as a whole.

Successful participation at XII AIEC Congress

Participation at the XII Congress of Iberian Association of Comparative Endocrinology (held 26-28 September 2019 in Faro, Portugal) was a successful and productive experience for IATS-Nutrigroup students.

Fernando Naya-Català was awarded with a Best Oral Communication prize for his presentation about the gilthead sea bream genome and the adaptation insights derived of the large genome size and the high level of gene duplications observed in this plastic species. This work is available at bioRxiv and will be shortly published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Regarding posters, Kike Rosell-Moll got a Best Poster prize for his work on the response of the AE-FishBIT biosensor to changes in biotic and abiotic parameters in free-swimming fish in tanks. Congratulations to both.

University of Havana annual award to scientific work

A work led by Dr. Erick Perera, researcher of the Nutrigenomics and Fish Growth Endocrinology Group at the Institute of Aquaculture Torre de la Sal (IATS-CSIC) and the Full Professor of Zoology Dr. Juan Miguel Mancera of the University of Cadiz (UCA), and authored by Dr. Leandro Rodríguez from the University of Havana, Cuba, obtained the Annual Award of UH 2019. The Award was granted by the Chancellor of the UH and the President of the Cuban Academy of Science.

The results of this work were published in different scientific publication and led to four theses, including a PhD thesis co-directed by E. Perera (IATS-CSIC) and J.M. Mancera (UCA). The relevant participation of researchers from the Center for Drug Research and Development in Cuba and the Andalusian Institute of Marine Science (ICMAN-CSIC) made this work and example of fruitful international and multidisciplinary collaboration.



AEFishBIT: Smart device for tracking fish behaviour

Researchers from CSIC and University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria reported the design and functional validation of AEFishBIT in the Open Access journal Frontiers in Physiology.

CSIC Communication Office has reported a press release about this important technological advance for the individual monitoring of farmed fish.

Studies conducted with AEFishBIT at the Institute of Aquaculture Torre de la Sal (IATS-CSIC) highlights how patterns of diurnal/nocturnal activity are altered by age, photoperiod, tank dimensions or progression of infective diseases.

AEFishBIT is also able to discriminate reactive and proactive fish when animals are challenged with low oxygen concentrations. Current experiments are focused on the effects of functional feeds in fish behaviour and its synchronizing with the environment.

Main outcome: new tool for selective breeding and assessment of fish welfare.


Scientific communication

Press release

Promotional video


Mecanismos sensores de glucosa en el cerebro de peces


Nueva publicación del grupo de Control de Ingesta (CDI) del IATS-CSIC. En este artículo describimos por primera vez la capacidad glucosensora del telencéfalo de los peces asociando los circuitos neuronales que regulan el comportamiento con la detección del nivel de glucosa. Un pequeño paso hacia el entendimiento de las respuestas comportamentales asociadas a la ingesta en peces. Los estudios se han realizado en colaboración con nuestros colegas de la Facultad de Biología de la Universidad de Vigo y en el marco del proyecto titulado “Implicación del sistema de melanocortinas en la regulación de los mecanismos temporales y conductuales de peces (MELANOCONDUCT)”. AGL2016-74857-C3-3-R.

Otero-Rodiño C, Rocha A, Álvarez-Otero R, Ceinos RM, López-Patiño MA, Míguez JM, Cerdá-Reverter JM and Soengas JL. Glucosensing capacity of rainbow trout telencephalon. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. DOI: 10.1111/jne.12583Resultado de imagen de trucha

Abstract To assess the hypothesis of glucosensing systems present in fish telencephalon, we first demonstrated in rainbow trout by in situ hybridization the presence of glucokinase (GK). Then, we assessed the response of glucosensing markers in rainbow trout telencephalon 6h after ICV treatment with glucose or 2-deoxyglucose (inducing glucoprivation). We evaluated the response of parameters related to the mechanisms dependent on GK, liver X receptor (LXR), mitochondrial activity, sweet taste receptor, and sodium-glucose linked transporter 1 (SGLT-1). We also assessed mRNA abundance of neuropeptides involved in the metabolic control of food intake (NPY, AgRP, POMC, and CART) as well as abundance and phosphorylation status of proteins possibly involved in linking glucosensing with neuropeptide expression such as Akt, AMPK, mTOR, and CREB. The responses obtained support the presence in telencephalon of a glucosensing mechanism based on GK and maybe one based on LXR, but do not support the presence of mechanisms dependent on mitochondrial activity and SGLT-1. The mechanism based on sweet taste receptor responded to glucose, but in a converse way to that characterized previously in hypothalamus. In general, systems responded only to glucose, but not to glucoprivation. Neuropeptides did not respond to glucose or glucoprivation. In contrast, the presence of glucose activates Akt and inhibits AMPK, CREB, and FoxO1. This is the first study in any vertebrate species in which the response to glucose of putative glucosensing mechanisms is demonstrated in telencephalon. Their role might relate to processes other than homeostatic control of food intake such as the hedonic and reward system.