Understanding Risks of Long-term Introgression From Salmon Aquaculture (GAGE_U18DTP)
- Research Area Agriculture and Food Security
- Partner The University of East Anglia (UEA)
Professor Matthew Gage -
- Application Deadline 27/11/2017
Aquaculture is identified as a key solution to satisfying increasing demands for animal protein from a growing human population. Farming fish is a relatively new form of domestication and, right now, we are at an early stage in its development, with ample opportunity to improve productivity and sustainability. Within aquaculture, salmon farming is a key player, with productivity surging since it started in 1979. Despite its great success, concerns exist about the sustainability and environmental impact of salmon farming. In this PhD project, you will research the reproductive potential of F1 hybrids between farm and wild salmon interbreeding, generating key data on long-term impacts of farm salmon escapes. These 'hybrid' fish could show reduced reproductive performance, allaying concerns about introgression, or they may have similar or even superior reproductive performance. The PhD will therefore conduct a full risk assessment of longer-term reproduction of farm x wild salmon hybrids, using both in vitro and in vivo assays of reproductive potential. The project will operate between UEA and collaborators at field sites in Norway and Scotland, conducting fertilisation experiments to measure the fitness of wild, farm and hybrid gametes, and recording and analysing spawning behaviour and performance of adult salmon. You will join a welcoming and active research group at UEA, and an energetic NRP DTP cohort. Training in a range of skills, from salmon management to microsatellite parentage exclusion, will develop you into an independent-thinking, international-impact scientist. The PhD will provide an excellent opportunity to achieve scientific impact on the sustainability of a fast-growing form of global food provision which will become even more important in the future.