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New research projects announced to support sustainable aquaculture

Copyright: iStock
News from: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
News from: Natural Environment Research Council
News from: Centre for the Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences
News from: Marine Scotland
News from: The Scottish Government
  • Twenty one new research projects will help to improve understanding of the factors affecting sustainable aquaculture and help build a multidisciplinary community
  • £5M awarded from BBSRC and NERC to support the programme which will focus on key challenges to the industry such as disease, parasite infections and climate-related changes

More than twenty new research projects have been awarded funding to address key challenges to the aquaculture sector. The proposals will focus on farming or cultivation in finfish, molluscs and crustaceans. The programme primarily aims to build capacity across the aquaculture research sector, with multidisciplinary projects spanning bioscience and environmental science. The funded projects will also seek to expand the uptake of new tools and technologies in priority areas.

The aquaculture sector provides a vital role in feeding a growing population, set to reach 9Bn by 2050. In the UK, the value of aquaculture in producing finfish such as salmon and sea trout is worth around £580M per year and rising. Challenges to the industry such as disease and parasite infections affecting farmed stock have a devastating impact.

Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC’s Science Director said: “To help ensure sustainable aquaculture stocks for society and the economy, a broad research base is needed to understand the biology and health of farmed species. Research focusing on the interactions between industry and the ecosystem is crucial to ensure sustainable production of this healthy and nutritious food source.”

The projects funded under this call also received support from co-funders Centre for the Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas), Marine Scotland Science and the Scottish Government.

The projects receiving funding are:

  • Risks and Opportunities for Sustainable Aquaculture (ROSA)
    Professor Icarus Allen, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • Toxic algae and sea-loch sediments: A novel investigation to understand the influence of climate change on harmful algal blooms and aquaculture
    Professor William Austin, University of St Andrews
  • Predicting benthic chemistry around marine fish farms
    Professor Kenneth Black, Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • Hypoxanthine metabolism in salmon: roles in osmoregulation and the innate immune response
    Dr Gordon Cramb, University of St Andrews
  • Minimising the risk of harm to aquaculture and human health from advective harmful algal blooms through early warning
    Professor Keith Davidson, Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • Development of a proteomic platform to facilitate the generation of new and improved vaccines for use in aquaculture
    Dr Helen Dooley, University of Aberdeen
  • WGS-aqua: Capacity building for the widespread adoption of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for the molecular epidemiology of aquaculture pathogens
    Professor Edward Feil, University of Bath
  • Verifying the reproductive potential of triploid farm Atlantic salmon
    Professor Matthew Gage, University of East Anglia
  • Investigation of Host Genetic Resistance to Oyster Herpes Virus using a High Density SNP Array
    Dr Ross Houston, The Roslin Institute
  • Epigenetic management of stress and disease resistance in Atlantic salmon
    Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, Swansea University
  • Gut health and immune function: the emerging role of gut microbiota in sustainable aquaculture
    Professor Samuel Martin, University of Aberdeen
  • ShellEye: Satellite-based water quality bulletins for shellfish farms to support management decisions
    Dr Peter Miller, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • Quantification and Viability of "Indicator" E. coli by Lab on a Chip Isothermal Nucleic Acid Amplification for Biosecurity in Sustainable Aquaculture
    Dr Matthew Mowlem, National Oceanography Centre
  • Development of a mucosal adjuvant for fish vaccination
    Professor Chris Secombes, University of Aberdeen
  • Use of contact structures for the control of infectious diseases in the British aquaculture industry
    Dr Kieran Sharkey, University of Liverpool
  • Assessments of fish gut microbiota during development, and in response to environmental and dietary change
    Professor Soraya Shirazi-Beechey, University of Liverpool
  • The role of chromatin extracellular traps in host defence of fish against pathogens
    Dr Valerie Jane Smith, University of St Andrews
  • Genomic approaches to identification and preservation of wild tilapia genetic resources for aquaculture
    Professor George Turner, Bangor University
  • Development of optimal molecular markers of domestication in Atlantic salmon for assessing introgression in wild populations
    Professor Eric Verspoor, University of the Highlands and Islands
  • The diagnostic window for detection of viruses infecting salmon in erythrocytes
    Dr Manfred Weidmann, University of Stirling
  • The impact of climate change on infection of salmonid fish with Saprolegnia
    Professor Pieter van West, University of Aberdeen

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