Sofia Figueroa Zambrano1*, Acacia Alcivar-Warren1,2*, Miriam Alcivar Arteaga1, Diego Alejandro Tigrero1, Gober Asuncion1, Oscar Jaen1, Christian Saltos1, Daniela Espinoza1, Christian Alcivar Navarrete1, Mayra Galindo1, Jorge Echevarria Flores3, Carlos Zamora3, Fermin Saavedra Cano3, Jorge Echevarria Velasquez3, Sonia Soto-Rodriguez4, Bruno Gomez-Gil4, Raquel Silveira Coffigny5, Gilma Delgado Miranda5, Gustavo Arencibia Carballo5, Marisela Hernandez Ceballos5, Chinnaiah Amutha6, Periasamy Subramanian6, Dang Thi Hoang Oanh7, Chika F Ikeogu8, Ebinimi Joe Ansa9, Charity Ifeyinwa Nsofor10, Robert Bogden11, Amy Mraz11
1Programa UNA SALUD / ONE HEALTH Epigenetics: Somos lo que Comemos / We Are What We Eat, and The Mangrove Epigenome (mangroveENCODE) Project, Fundación para la Conservación de la Biodiversidad Acuática y Terrestre de Ecuador (FUCOBI), Quito, Ecuador; 2ONE HEALTH Epigenomics Educational Initiative, P. O. Box 196, Southborough, MA 01772 USA; 3Universidad de Tumbes, Tumbes, Peru; 4CIAD, Genomica Microbiana y Bacteriología Labs, Mazatlán Unit for Aquaculture and Environmental Management, AP. 711, Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico 82000;  5Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras, Calle 246 No. 503, Barlovento, CP 19100, La Habana, Cuba; 6Department of Animal Behaviour & Physiology, School of Biological Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai-625 021, Tamilnadu, India;  7College of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Cantho University, Vietnam; 8Dept. of Fisheries & Aquaculture, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria; 9African Regional Aquaculture Center, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, 10Department of Zoology Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria; 11Amplicon Express Inc., Pullman WA USA; E-mail: fucobi@gmail.com

We present a summary of (a) proposed activities through The Mangrove Epigenome (mangroveENCODE) Project, part of the 'ONE HEALTH Epigenomics Educational Initiative (OHEEI)' (Alcivar-Warren et al. 2015); (b) a review on CO2 and microbiome (bacterial communities) of sediment of mangroves and shrimp ponds from tropical countries; and (c) mangrove reforestation efforts in Ecuador, Peru and other countries. The OHEEI is a collaboration between Environmental Genomics, Inc. of MA, USA and the FUCOBI Foundation of Ecuador, through their program "UNA SALUD / ONE HEALTH Epigenetics: Somos lo que Comemos (We Are What We Eat)", and includes the mangroveENCODE, shrimpENCODE, fishENCODE and childrenENCODE projects. The long-term goal of mangroveENCODE is to study the interactions of CO2 and microbial communities in light of climate change and environmental degradation-related health issues. We will obtain baseline information for future studies to test mechanism-driven hypotheses to examine the interactions of CO2, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and microbial diversity using computational ecology tools. The short-term goals are to characterize the CO2, microbiome, and EDCs (Glyphosate and metals) in the sediment of mangroves and shrimp ponds from tropical countries. A pilot project will first determine best technologies to assess the microbiome from sediment of mangroves of Ecuador, Mexico, Cuba, Vietnam, India, Brazil, China, Thailand, Nigeria.

Biodiversity of mangrove ecosystem is linked to food security in coastal mangrove-dependent communities. Mangrove ecosystems are highly productive, rich in biodiversity. They are biologically diverse wetlands that serve as nurseries and habitats to many juvenile fishes, mollusks, and crustaceans, including shrimps, and also support diverse species of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi associated with biogeochemical transformations of nutrients. Mangroves also have a staggering ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. They trap sediments via extensive root systems and assimilate nutrients along with associated sediment contaminants such as antibiotics, EDCs [polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) pesticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), herbicide Glyphosate], other pesticides and metals (some chelated by Glyphosate, and nephrotoxic). Mangroves are disappearing in recent years due to ozone depletion, freshwater diversion, ocean acidification, atmospheric aerosol pollution, shrimp farming and other human activities, and the introduction of exotic chemicals of concern (EDCs) and genetically modified organisms [Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), Agrobacterium tumefasciens (At)] in the shrimp farms occurring nearby mangrove habitats. We are concerned about bacterial diseases of shrimp, Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease (AHPND) in particular, also known as Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS). AHPND/EMS is caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) and V. harveyi strains containing plasmids with mobile elements/transposons flanking the Photorhabdus-like insecticidal toxins PirA and PirB. PirB shows similarity to Cry endotoxins from Bt, which is used for pest management control near mangroves and shrimp ponds.

No information is available on concentrations of EDCs and microbiome in sediment of mangroves and shrimp ponds from the leading shrimp-producing countries. In Odisha, India, for example, more than 200 shrimp farms are distributed adjacent to the mangrove forest (Mishra et al. 2015). In Ecuador, mangroves of Guayas and El Oro provinces are surrounded by thousands of hectares of shrimp farms. In Tumbes, Peru, mangroves from a protected area are surrounded by 4,331 hectares of shrimp ponds. To boost increase in production of shrimp farms, large amount of artificial feed, pesticides, chemical additives and antibiotics are continuously added. These compounds along with fecal heces from the shrimps make the pond water polluted which when released, make their way into the mangrove environment.

The predominant bacteria and fungi species from mangrove sediments of Bhitarkanika, India, Brazil and other shrimp-producing countries will be presented. We are concerned about the use of Glyphosate as a bactericide and biocide, because it may kill good bacteria from the sediment of mangroves and shrimp ponds, and the gut of shrimp/shellfish, fish and people from coastal communities. There is evidence for interaction of Vibrio cholera with Glyphosate, but information on the interactions of Vp or other Vibrios with Glyphosate is lacking. Basic research on health considerations regarding horizontal transfer of microbial transgenes (Bt, At) on non-target organisms such as shrimp is urgently needed.  

Efforts should be directed to protect microbial communities of mangrove sediment by minimizing the adverse impact caused by man-made activities (antibiotics, pesticides, microbial transgenes, etc.), to maintain the value of coastal resources, address emerging zoonotic diseases, foof safety and food security issues of concern. A summary of mangrove reforestation efforts in Ecuador, Peru and other tropical countries will be presented.

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