College of Science and Engineering CSE Research Marine Biology and Aquaculture Research

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Marine Biology and Aquaculture Research

Marine Biology and Aquaculture at JCU provides access to a unique tropical learning environment with research stations, state-of-the-art laboratories and the Great Barrier Reef right on our doorstep. We have many world-renowned researchers who undertake cutting-edge research in all areas of marine biology and aquaculture.

Our Aquaculture researchers are world-leaders in tropical aquaculture research and development, with a particular focus on genetics, nutrition, aquatic animal health, physiology, hatchery production, algae, husbandry, post-harvest processing and sustainable practices. JCU Aquaculture has also led the development of large and successful commercial aquaculture projects globally.

Aquaculture, Fisheries, Marine Biology, Genetics

Evolution and function of marine - Jan Strugnell, Catarina Silva

We investigate the evolution and function of marine organisms using genomic and proteomic techniques. Our research encompasses both applied and blue skies questions including helping to solve bottlenecks in fisheries and aquaculture industries

Aquatic Animal Health

The Aquatic Animal Health team conduct research which enables fisheries, aquaculture and Australian quarantine to make informed decisions in regards to stock structure, disease management and import regulations.

Biotechnological and genetic solutions for aquaculture

Aquaculture Genetics - Professor Dean Jerry

Research in this theme generates knowledge and develops new biotechnological tools to assist in aquaculture selective breeding programs. This includes understanding the genetic basis of commercially important traits, identification of quantitative trait loci, population and genetic diversity analysis, genome analysis, selection and looking at microbiomes and how they influence production and disease.

Human dimensions of aquatic resources and production

Research on the sustainability of fishers, producers, industries and communities involved in aquatic food production; how to deal with change in fisheries and aquaculture to ensure aquatic food security; identification of adaptation strategies.

Novel aquatic products and applications

Culture systems provide the ability to develop a wide range of novel products for human, animal and plant use. This includes the ability to utilise waste streams from industrial and agricultural systems to provide remediation and access to resources.

Nutrient requirements and nutritional physiology for fish, crustaceans and molluscs

Aquatic animal nutrition - Dr Leo Nankervis

Feed inputs for aquatic animals and one of the largest costs for aquaculture operations, both from a financial and sustainability perspective. Providing inputs essential for optimal growth while also contributing to product quality and health, nutrition is at the core of global aquaculture industries. With strong industry links, this research contributes directly to sustainable aquafeed development through developing a greater understanding in the areas of nutrient requirement, raw material quality, product quality and aquatic animal health. The nutrition team are engaged with direct commercial links including aquafeed benchmarking and bioactive ingredient evaluation.

Seafood, Health and Allergens

This research team uses cutting-edge approaches in characterising the interactions of immunogenic proteins from different food sources including fish, crustacean, mollusc and parasites with the human immune system leading to allergic and inflammatory reactions.

Sustainable Wild Fisheries

The Sustainable Wild Fisheries team are world-leaders in the sustainable development of tropical aquatic resources. Researchers work to maximise the social, environmental and economic benefits of wild fisheries and ensure the long-term sustainability of aquatic resources in Australia and the tropics worldwide.

Find more about these projects on our Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fishers and Aquaculture website.

JCU's focus is tropical marine biology and sciences. Our graduates have a reputation for scientific rigour and breadth of understanding.

All our staff are active researchers, and many are world leaders in their chosen fields. These leading specialists coordinate the undergraduate subjects, do the face-to-face teaching and supervise the researchers of the future.

Climate change and potential for adaptation in fishes

Geoff Jones, Mark McCormick, Philip Munday, Mike Kingsford, Lynne van Herwerden

Elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide is warming oceans and changing ocean chemistry. This theme examines how climate change affects fishes, their ecology and physiology. It also uses laboratory experiments to examine their capacity to adapt to these environmental changes across generations.

Anthropogenic impacts on marine mega-fauna

Mark Hamman, Mariana Fuentes

This research focuses principally on turtles and dugongs and examines how these creatures can survive in a changing world.

Ecosystem connectivity of fishes

Marcus Sheaves, Ronnie Baker, Adam Barnett, Katya Abrantes, Ross Johnston, Mike Kingsford

Studying connectivity in the coastal landscape for marine fishes that use freshwater wetland nurseries. Part of this includes studies of the stage-specific habitat requirements of fishes.

Impacts of coal dust on marine systems

Mia Hoogenboom

Coal is a major export for Australia, and large quantities fall into inshore reefs while being loaded onto ships. This research explores the extent and nature of the problem.

Impacts of microplastics on marine systems

Mia Hoogenboom, Lynne van Herwerden

Small plastic particles are chemically active and have the ability to disrupt marine foodwebs. Research is starting to understand the startling breadth of the impact of this ubiquitous pollutant.

Marine reserve management

Garry Russ

No-take marine reserves are seen by management as the saviour of biodiversity because they allow a part of an ecosystem to exist away from human harvest. There are many predictions of the usefulness of marine reserves for management and biodiversity, but little data exists. This research examines the utility of marine reserves from both the side of the marine organisms that may benefit from protection and the human aspects that are central to their success.

Theoretical and statistical modelling in marine ecology

Sean Connolly

At best we can quantify what is happening now, but if we are to predict population, community or ecosystem dynamics into the future, then we need to convert changes in the short-term into numbers and model the system.

Tropical fisheries and management

Garry Russ, Colin Simpfendorfer, Mike Kingsford

The main way humans interact with sealife is through fishing and harvest, and the livelihoods and economies of many tropical communities rely on nutrition collected from the sea. This research focuses on species important to fisheries – top predators- the cods, groupers, snappers and sharks – and the effects of fishing on their ecology.

Coral Reef Evolution and Ecology

David Bellwood & lab -  Coral Reef Ecosystem Function

Our goal is to understand how coral reefs function. This encompasses the evolution of coral reefs over the last 100 million years and the ecology of living reefs. The focus is on fishes and corals. The ultimate goal is to guide the management of reefs over the next few decades as they reconfigure following human-induced disruption.

Reef and Ocean Ecology

Mike Kingsford

Reef and Ocean Ecology Laboratory largely focus on whole organism marine ecology. The emphasis of those in the laboratory is on ecological questions that relate to reef fishes, the habitats they live in and the degree to which they are protected. We also work on the oceanographic links between populations of fishes and invertebrates. As a result of venturing into the pelagic environment we have also had many projects on the ecology jellyfishes, including those that are dangerous to humans.