Aquaculture for all

Scottish Researchers land £3 million for aquaculture research

Atlantic Salmon Genomics Diagnostics +11 more

Researchers from the University of Glasgow have been granted £3 million in funding across four projects which focus on overcoming current challenges faced by the aquaculture sector.

A Scottish salmon farm
The research will focus on challenges faced by Scottish salmon and seaweed farmers


Researchers at the University of Glasgow’s School of Biodiversity, One Health and Veterinary Medicine (SBOHVM) have been awarded £3m across four new projects. With a focus on sustainable aquaculture, the research will seek to overcome challenges currently faced in the farming of salmon and seaweed.

Led by Professor Martin Llewellyn and Dr Sofie Spatharis, the first project is funded with £2m from the new BBSRC Industrial Partnership Award and will focus on plankton-based drivers of gill disease in farmed Atlantic salmon. The research will make use of SBOHVM’s exciting new mobile marine aquaria, and will combine genome-wide association studies, metabarcoding, and causal model frameworks to identify drivers of gill-related mortality in salmon. The project also includes researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen and the Roslin Institute, as well as industry partners.

“I feel very lucky to be in Scotland, and Glasgow Uni in particular, working with an amazing team of marine ecologists, making use of exciting new infrastructure for coastal research and working at the forefront of an expanding sustainable aquaculture industry,” said Dr Spatharis, in a press release.

The second project is led by Dr Spatharis, Professor Llewellyn and Dr Simon Babayan in collaboration with Dan Smale from the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth and was awarded £585,021 by the BBSRC 2023 Sustainable Aquaculture Partnerships for Innovation to study seaweed farming in Europe. The project, which will be carried out in collaboration with nine seaweed farms in the UK, Norway, and Sweden, will focus on developing tools to predict biofouling - the process through which seaweed is contaminated with unwanted organisms, effecting crop yield and quality.

In the final two projects Dr Spatharis and Professor Llewellyn will work with a range of collaborators on new salmon farming research. These projects, led by the Scottish Association for Marine Science and The Norway Institute of Marine Research, will study sea lice detection in farmed salmon, and the development of new diagnostic approaches to pathogen detection.

“It is wonderful to see the University of Glasgow working more in the aquaculture space - we have much to offer. Aquaculture represents the future of food from the sea and pushing for a more sustainable footing is vital,” commented Professor Llewellyn.

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