Graduate Research School For Candidates Prospective Candidates Available Projects Combating summer mortality in abalone: can a little bit of stress be beneficial

Combating summer mortality in abalone: can a little bit of stress be beneficial

Title of Project

Combating summer mortality in abalone: can a little bit of stress be beneficial

Advisor/s

Jan Strugnell

College or Research Centre

College of Science & Engineering

Summary of Project

Summer mortality is a phenomenon that causes mass dies offs of molluscs during the summer months. Summer mortality affected molluscs include many economically important animals including; oysters, mussels, clams, scallops and abalone. The condition occurs in both natural and aquaculture environments and represents a considerable and increasing threat towards aquaculture and fisheries industries world-wide. Genetic factors play an important role in susceptibility and resilience to summer mortality. Recent work by our group has detected significantly different gene expression signatures in abalone that were found to be resilient to summer mortality than those that were found to be susceptible. Some of these genes were found to have antioxidant and immune–related functions. Research in other marine species shows that inducing a slight stress response ahead of a more significant stressor (e.g. disease or high temperature) can be somewhat protective. This is yet to be explored in a research setting for abalone, either within or between generations, but could provide a useful tool for combating summer mortality events, thereby providing benefits to the aquaculture industry. This PhD project will employ manipulative experiments carried out within the Marine and Aquaculture Research Facilities Unit (MARFU) at JCU and employ the latest genomic and bioinformatics techniques in order to investigate whether slight stressor(s) can provide a protective effect against summer mortality in abalone and if so what molecular mechanism is responsible.

Key Words

abalone; summer mortality; molluscs; marine; aquaculture

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Updated: 4 months ago