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Causes and impact of skin ulcers in flatfish in the Nord sea

StressChron Framework:

Project code 068
Role Co-coordinator
Research area Contributing to a more sustainable and animal welfare minded food production
Research topic Improving our understanding of the impact of anthropogenic activities on the health status of vertebrates in the wild
Vertebrate Fish
Species Dab (Limanda limanda)


The research goal is to determine the causes and impact of skin ulcers in flatfish in the Nord sea. Hereby, a large dataset regarding animal based, environmental as well as anthropogenic parameters which can be linked to the prevalence of skin ulcers in flatfish will be acquired and an infection model will be optimized to induce skin ulcers in well controlled lab conditions in order to unravel whether these factors are possibly involved in the development of skin ulcers and how the presence of the latter impacts the fish.


Keywords: wildlife, fish, stress, anthropogenic, ulcer, bacteria, infection

Funding: Flanders Institute for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT 151481)

Status: Finalized


Ghent University (Aerts J, Chiers K, Decostere A, Vercauteren M)

Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Aerts J, Ampe B, Devriese L)


Vercauteren M., Decostere A., Devriese L., De Swaef E., Gulla S., Romalde J.L., Aerts J. and Chiers K (2017) Skin ulcerations in wild flatfish: a mystery to be resolved. European Association of Fish Pathologists, Belfast, Northern Ireland, September 6th 2017, abstract.

Vercauteren M, De Swaef E, Aerts J, Ampe B, Romalde JL, Haesebrouck F, Devriese L, Polet H, Decostere A, Chiers K (2019) Scrutinizing the triad of Vibrio tapetis, the skin barrier and pigmentation as determining factors in the development of skin ulcerations in wild common dab (Limanda limanda). Vet Res, 50:41

Vercauteren M, De Swaef E, Declercq AM, Aerts J, Ampe B, Gulla S, Haesebrouck F, Devriese L, Decostere A, Chiers K (2020) Pinpointing the role of Aeromonas salmonicida in the development of skin ulcerations in common dab (Limanda limanda). J Fish Dis. 00:1–11

PhD thesis of Maaike Vercauteren: Unravelling the etiology of skin ulcerations in common dab (Limanda limanda) in the Belgian part of the North Sea

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