News & Events
Is there a role for microbiomes in oyster mortality events?
Speaker(s): Dr Maurizio Labbate, Senior Lecturer, School of Life Sciences and ithree Institute, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
When: 22 November 2017 (3:00 - 4:00pm)
Where: SBS CR2 (Level 1)
Type: Seminars


Oysters support valuable aquaculture industries in many regions of the world, and play important ecological roles in coastal environments. However, their global commercial cultivation has been hindered by disease outbreaks that have heavily eroded the industry. An understudied area is, what impact environmental factors might have on the oyster microbiome and whether this plays a role in oyster health and susceptibility to infectious pathogens. In this presentation, I will introduce our research investigating the microbiome of two oysters species, namely the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and the Sydney Rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata), focussing on the microbiome of C. gigas during a 2013-2014 summer mortality event in Port Stephens (Australia). The oyster microbiome composition from disease-affected sites was significantly determined by location. Furthermore, a comparison of oyster microbiomes from stocks affected or unaffected by the mortality event within the same site identified rare OTUs belonging to Vibrio harveyi and an unidentified member of the Vibrionaceae, as significantly more abundant in the microbiomes from the disease-affected stock indicating a potential role in disease and supporting the result of a concurrent culture-based approach.


Dr Maurizio Labbate is an internationally-recognised researcher in antimicrobial resistance and infectious disease. He is interested in the movement of antimicrobial resistance genes between bacteria and their contamination in the wider environment, and marine bacteria called Vibrio species that cause diseases in humans and marine animals. Dr Labbate has extensive experience and knowledge in the bacterial process of lateral gene transfer, a phenomenon that facilitates the emergence and evolution of bacterial pathogens and their resistance to antimicrobials. His work spans multiple disciplines and is focussed on the interface that microbes have with their environment and how this drives disease processes or evolution/emergence of pathogens.