Dr. Kiran Kaur, a research fellow in the laboratory led by Prof. Tor Horsberg at NMBU, spent two weeks with us between October 26th and the 8th of November, 2016. Her research group at NMBU is internationally recognised to be leading scientific investigations that seek to unravel resistance mechanisms within the salmon louse that have been developing towards parasiticides. This work, which focuses mainly on finding molecular markers associated with resistance in salmon louse and in developing rapid molecular diagnostic assays to screen for such markers, has great relevance to the modelling and computer-based simulation research being carried out by the Epi-informatics group here at CERC.
Kiran spent much of her visit interacting with the CERC group that works on sea lice population dynamics, and whose agent-based modelling research is led by Dr. Gregor McEwan. The application of these models is primarily to aid in the design of effective treatment and control strategies, but can also be used to gain insights into the effects of cleaner-fish and the role wild ‘refugia’ may have in resistance development within sea lice populations. Dr. Kaur’s visit had a specific focus on the issue of model validation, which is critical to facilitation of better communication and exploitation of modelling results. In this context, plans were put in place to explore, together with researchers from NMBU, the utility of using publically available data from the Barrentswatch site to test and validate aspects of our models as they relate to farm-based sea lice populations and treatments.