Biodiversity impacts of aquaculture feed

Mapping the biodiversity impacts of aquaculture feeds

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement



$28,854pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

As the human population grows in number and affluence, demands for food are soaring, particularly for animal products. Fish and seafood consumption is growing faster than most other food types in Australia and globally. With global fisheries catch at a plateau for the past few decades, nearly all increased seafood demand will need to be met through fish farming, i.e., aquaculture. Of the 80 million tonnes of food produced globally by the aquaculture sector, the majority is fed, where growing the fish requires using human-made feeds. Sourcing feed products account for a substantial proportion of the ecological impacts embedded in the life cycle of farmed fish, yet to date we’ve had little information on tracking feed production to consumption, and thus the full extent of the environmental footprint of fish farming. Recent work has advanced our understanding of the spatial resolution of the environmental pressures created by food and feed production, but spatial patterns of biodiversity impacts remain poorly resolved. Gaining greater understanding of the local contexts and implications of environmental pressures exerted by aquaculture and aquaculture feed production on biodiversity is key to creating a sustainable seafood industry into the future.

The proposed PhD studentship would aim to address this gap by:

  • Identifying and synthesising existing methodologies on global biodiversity impact assessment for food and feed production.
  • Develop a means to include and compare different vulnerability metrics in biodiversity impact assessments for aquaculture feeds.
  • Expanding global or regional biodiversity assessments to explore broader evaluations of social and economic impact dimensions and identify how to minimise trade-offs across sustainability domains.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Richard Cottrell


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend co-funded by ARC of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

International applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • First-class honours or equivalent in environmental science or a related field
  • Experience in R statistical programming language and software
  • Experience in quantitative methods, and manipulation of large data sets
  • Demonstrated experience or understanding of GIS and spatial analysis
  • Demonstrated proficiency in written and verbal English

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • First author publication in international peer-reviewed journal preferred.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Richard Cottrell to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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