The use of prevalence as a measure of lice burden: a case study of Lepeophtheirus salmonis on Scottish Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., farms

M. Baillie, F. Lees, G. Gettinby, C.W. Revie

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This study investigates the benefits of using prevalence as a summary measure of sea lice infestation on farmed Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L. Aspects such as sampling effort, the relationship between abundance and prevalence arising from the negative binomial distribution, and how this relationship can be used to indicate the degree of aggregation of lice on a site at a given time point are discussed. As a case study, data were drawn from over 50 commercial Atlantic salmon farms on the west coast of Scotland between 2002 and 2006. Descriptive statistics and formal analysis using a linear modelling technique identified significant variations in sea lice prevalence across year class, region and season. Supporting evidence of a functional relationship between prevalence and abundance of sea lice is provided, which is explained through the negative binomial distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of fish diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2009


  • abundance
  • Atlantic salmon
  • negative binomial distribution
  • prevalence
  • sea lice

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