Amino acid requirements of juvenile tropical (Panulirus ornatus): towards the development of effective formulated feeds

Closing Date

29th October 2021

The Research Project

This project will focus on defining optimum protein quality by determining essential amino acid requirements for juvenile topical and slipper lobsters. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the importance of between meal changes in tissue amino acid supply, balance and fluxes into growth or metabolism.

The research will combine established and cutting-edge methods to understand amino acid metabolism at multiple levels and specifically related to how well amino acid requirements are being met or not met. Classic factorial modelling of amino acid requirements will establish the base experimental approach. Advanced respirometry, combining oxygen consumption with carbon dioxide and nitrogenous excretion, will determine changes in substrate utilization within 24-h cycles and incorporate between meal changes in amino acid supply to tissues.

Protein turnover will be measured because it underlies growth, is strongly influenced by dietary protein quality (amino acid balance) and has high energy costs. Stable isotope tracking to the level of specific amino acids will be developed and provide further detail on metabolic pathways and specific amino acid retention efficiencies (e.g. Barreto-Curiel et al 2019). Targeted transcriptomics will then be used to understand how gene regulation relates to differences in amino acid fluxes. The research will ultimately help explain mechanisms that underpin differences in whole-animal growth efficiency and provide a detailed basis for feed formulation.


Essential Skills:

  • Graduates with a strong academic record (e.g. BSc Hons, MSc or equivalent qualifications demonstrated by publication record) in aquaculture, ecology, marine biology, molecular biology and zoology or similar

Desirable Skills:

  • Research experience or undergraduate training in aquaculture, physiology, nutrition, aquatic health and/or molecular biology (project specific)
  • Demonstrated experience in aquaculture growth or feeding experiments and laboratory analytical analysis
  • Keen interest in and desire for a career in aquaculture and/or marine ecology

Please check the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the supervisor, A/Prof Quinn Fitzgibbon.

Information and guidance on the application process can be found here.

To submit an application for this project, click here.