aqpolSPARE-SEA Project

Environmental Spread and Persistence of Antibiotic REsistances in aquatic Systems Exposed to oyster Aquaculture


sparesealogoIn SPARE-SEA, a One Health approach to study the routes of transfer and the mechanisms of selection for antibiotic resistance genes within coastal habitats affected by oyster aquaculture.

The Goal: SPARE-SEA will provide a better picture of what antibiotic resistance genes exist in the aquatic environments where ers are cultured, how they may have arrived in this habitat, what the “drivers” are that increase their presence, and what risk this may pose to the environment, including humans – in short it is a One Health approach that puts the health of animals and humans, the environment, and our food, into the same level of scrutiny. By understanding which bacteria carry the antibiotic resistance genes and how these bacteria may be transmitted within the aquatic environment we gain knowledge that can be applied towards reducing the final impact to health at all levels. These achievements will improve health and food security and safety while reducing health risks from infectious diseases caused by bacteria.

Open Scientific Questions: 

oyster How does early larval exposure change the oyster resistome and enrich known and emerging pathogens?

Do human activities activate mobile genetic elements that can carry antibiotic and heavy metal resistance genes?

Is the transfer of ARGs enhanced in the oyster bioreactor and what are the conditions that select for ARB in the oyster life and production cycle?

Which environmental compartments are sources and sinks of ARGs transfer in coastal ecosystems?

Does AR facilitate the emergence of pathogens and helps to explain the where, when and why of disease emergence?

The SPARE-SEA work plan




  • Mathias Wegner

    Principal Investigator, AWI Sylt (Germany)
  • Gianluca Corno

    Unit Leader, National PI (Italy) CNR-IRSA, Verbania (Italy)
  • Delphine Destoumieux-Garzon

    Unit Leader CNRS, Montpellier (France)
  • Karl Andree

    Unit Leader IRTA, Taragona (Spain)
  • Luigi Vezzulli

    Unit Leader University of Genoa (Italy)


Updates on the project progresses are available on the SPARE-SEA twitter account: (soon available)

Publications from SPARE-SEA