New aquaculture research projects

More than 20 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 2020. 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, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)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 receive 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), 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, University of St Andrews
  • Predicting benthic chemistry around marine fish farms, Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • Hypoxanthine metabolism in salmon: roles in osmoregulation and the innate immune response, University of St Andrews
  • Minimising the risk of harm to aquaculture and human health from advective harmful algal blooms through early warning, Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • Development of a proteomic platform to facilitate the generation of new and improved vaccines for use in aquaculture, University of Aberdeen
  • WGS-aqua: Capacity building for the widespread adoption of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for the molecular epidemiology of aquaculture pathogens, University of Bath
  • Verifying the reproductive potential of triploid farm Atlantic salmon, University of East Anglia
  • Investigation of Host Genetic Resistance to Oyster Herpes Virus using a High Density SNP Array, The Roslin Institute
  • Epigenetic management of stress and disease resistance in Atlantic salmon, Swansea University
  • Gut health and immune function: the emerging role of gut microbiota in sustainable aquaculture, University of Aberdeen
  • ShellEye: Satellite-based water quality bulletins for shellfish farms to support management decisions, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • Quantification and Viability of "Indicator" E. coli by Lab on a Chip Isothermal Nucleic Acid Amplification for Biosecurity in Sustainable Aquaculture, National Oceanography Centre
  • Development of a mucosal adjuvant for fish vaccination, University of Aberdeen
  • Use of contact structures for the control of infectious diseases in the British aquaculture industry, University of Liverpool
  • Assessments of fish gut microbiota during development, and in response to environmental and dietary change, University of Liverpool
  • The role of chromatin extracellular traps in host defence of fish against pathogens, University of St Andrews
  • Genomic approaches to identification and preservation of wild tilapia genetic resources for aquaculture, Bangor University
  • Development of optimal molecular markers of domestication in Atlantic salmon for assessing introgression in wild populations, University of the Highlands and Islands
  • The diagnostic window for detection of viruses infecting salmon in erythrocytes, University of Stirling
  • The impact of climate change on infection of salmonid fish with Saprolegnia, University of Aberdeen


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