Pioneering breeding solutions for aquaculture (GAGE_U17DTP)

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Start Date:  1st October 2017

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Prof. Matthew Gage 

Project description:
Aquaculture is identified as a key solution to satisfying increasing demands for animal protein from a growing human population. Aquaculture is a relatively novel form of farming and, right now, we are at an early stage in its development, with ample opportunity to discover how to improve productivity, efficiency, and animal welfare. Within aquaculture, Atlantic salmon farming is a dominant player, and its productivity has surged since it started in 1979. Despite its huge growth, demands continue, so there is considerable pressure for scientists to discover ways to improve productivity. One way to improve productivity is to optimize systems of salmon breeding within hatchery environments, where fertility and reproductive success of species brought into aquaculture is often compromised. In this PhD studentship, we will take knowledge gained about natural systems of reproduction and fertilization in salmon, and apply these to systems within aquaculture in order to improve breeding success and offspring development. We will examine how to manage socio-sexual interactions between adult broodstock to improve fertility and fecundity, how best to conduct in vitro fertilizations so that maximum fertility and embryonic success can be achieved, and whether domestication could be eroding the performance of farm salmon gametes. The project will continue an ongoing research collaboration into fish reproductive biology, with much of the fieldwork based in Norway. The studentship will therefore provide an excellent PhD and training opportunity, with involvement in a range of basic and applied research into salmon reproduction in the field and lab, while providing clear opportunities to achieve considerable impact within a fast-growing and very important form of global food provision.

Person specification: Minimum entry 2:1

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,296pa – 2016/7), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website:

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South East England