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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

 Jamie McMurtrie

Jamie McMurtrie

PhD student

 Geoffrey Pope 201


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


My broad research interest is microbial ecology in the context of aquatic environments and the spread of antimicrobial resistance. By applying a range of traditional biological, genomic and bioinformatic approaches it is possible to study the collective interactions between microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and protists.

During my undergraduate degree I worked as a researcher for a year at Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) to investigate the health of wild ballan wrasse that are used as cleaner fish in the Atlantic salmon farming industry. This research captured my interest in the field of aquaculture, leading me to pursue a PhD in Prof. Charles Tyler’s group in collaboration with Cefas and WorldFish, where I study the impact of antibiotics on microbiomes in aquaculture.


2015 – 2019 BSc Biomedical Science with Industrial Placement, University of Bath

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Research projects

Project Title: Antibiotic exposure impacts on skin microbiomes and disease resilience in fish in aquaculture

Supervisors: Professor Charles Tyler, Dr Ben Temperton, Dr David Bass (Cefas) and Dr Jérôme Delamare-Deboutteville (WorldFish)

Funding Body: BBSRC SWBio DTP

Project Description: Intensification of farming practices in aquaculture tends to incur increases in disease incidence, with antibiotics often misused to combat disease. Antibiotics can also contaminate ponds via manure fertilisers and water sources, collectively allowing persistence of antibiotics in the environment at low concentrations. While there has been considerable focus on the potential impact of antibiotics in relation to AMR and human health, there is very little understanding on how antibiotic usage might affect microbiomes in aquaculture systems - the microbial communities of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protists - to in turn affect the health of the cultured organisms.

My PhD studentship will investigate the antibiotic mediated disruption to composition and function of microbial communities associated with the fish skin mucosal surface, and how this may influence susceptibility to disease. This research will focus on the aquaculture production of tilapia in Bangladesh through a range of field studies and finely controlled laboratory exposures.


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Journal articles

Bell AG, McMurtrie J, Bolaños LM, Cable J, Temperton B, Tyler CR (2024). Influence of host phylogeny and water physicochemistry on microbial assemblages of the fish skin microbiome. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 100(3). Abstract.
Lorgen-Ritchie M, Uren Webster T, McMurtrie J, Bass D, Tyler CR, Rowley A, Martin SAM (2023). Microbiomes in the context of developing sustainable intensified aquaculture. FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY, 14  Author URL.
Debnath SC, McMurtrie J, Temperton B, Delamare-Deboutteville J, Mohan CV, Tyler CR (2023). Tilapia aquaculture, emerging diseases, and the roles of the skin microbiomes in health and disease. Aquaculture International, 31(5), 2945-2976. Abstract.
McMurtrie J, Alathari S, Chaput DL, Bass D, Ghambi C, Nagoli J, Delamare-Deboutteville J, Mohan CV, Cable J, Temperton B, et al (2022). Relationships between pond water and tilapia skin microbiomes in aquaculture ponds in Malawi. Aquaculture, 558, 738367-738367.
McMurtrie J, Verner-Jeffreys DW, Cochrane-Dyet T, White P, van Aerle R, Ryder D, Stone D, Green M, Feist SW, Cano I, et al (2019). Health assessment of the cleaner fish ballan wrasse Labrus bergylta from the British south-west coast. Dis Aquat Organ, 136(2), 133-146. Abstract.  Author URL.

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