The characterisation of the healthy microbiota of the complete tropical rock lobster rearing system and development of methods for potential pathogen detection and identification

Closing Date

29th October 2021

The Research Project

This Ph.D. will aim to identify potential disease-causing agents in onshore lobster culture systems. With the intensification of lobster culture there is the suggestion that many putative pathogens will emerge that are yet to be identified or their associated diseases observed and reported.

Biosecurity is an essential aspect of this emerging aquaculture industry and it is vital to ensure that cultured lobsters are healthy to ensure the sustainability of lobster aquaculture. The closed-nature of onshore RAS provides the ability to monitor and treat all inputs and outputs to the system.

This research will use portable real-time third generation nucleic acid sequencing to characterise the microbiota of the tropical rock lobster (TRL) rearing system to provide a baseline as to what microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and eukaryotic microbes) are associated with the culture of healthy lobsters. This will allow the detection and identification of known and unknown pathogens that may enter the system or opportunistically impact the culture environment. It is envisaged that detailed knowledge of the microbiota and the ability to archive this information for future interrogation will lay the foundations for and allow onshore RAS lobster aquaculture to set a new standard for aquaculture biosecurity.


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.