Aquaculture Biotechnology Group

Who we are: 

aquaculture 2

The Aquaculture Biotechnology Group pulls together experts, postgraduate and undergraduate students to work on innovative research that can be applied to the aquaculture industry. The group combines key staff from the fields of aquaculture, chemistry, microbiology, genetics and commercialisation and aims to: 

  • undertake applied research with direct relevance to New Zealand’s growing aquaculture industry
  • improve student supervision through a ‘team supervision’ model
  • develop research excellence through multidisciplinary and cooperative work

Student focus: 

The group focuses on the engagement of students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, in collaborative research. It also:
  • provides a supportive and interactive atmosphere, which stimulates students to develop their own research skills. 
  • promotes research techniques and procedures which are quickly shared, and critical thinking skills that are developed through ongoing peer-evaluation of experiments and results. 
  • currently supervises over 15 postgraduate students.

Funding and grants:

The group has:
  • generated over $400,000 in external funds (FRST, Seafood Innovation, Ministry of Fisheries, and individual aquaculture companies)
  • two patents which are being tested in a commercial setting
  • collaborated with a research team in Chile, Spain, and USA
  • funded research networks nationally and internationally

Support and influential people:

This multi-disciplinary group includes:   
  • Associate Professor Andrea C. Alfaro (Aquaculture and Marine Ecology): Expert on marine invertebrate ecology and shellfish aquaculture.
  • Professor John Brooks (Biofilms/Microbiology): Expert on bacterial biofilm formation and development.
  • Dr. John Robertson (Chemistry): Expert on chemical tools and procedures to tests and modify the physico-chemical environment where larvae, juvenile, and adult individuals are cultured. 
  • Dr. Colleen Higgins (Genetics and Molecular Biology): Expert on genetic and molecular tools to characterise and improve living organisms. 
  • Dr. Noemi Gutierrez-Maddox (Probiotics/Microbiology): Expert on probiotics and microbiological tools.
  • Dr. Mark Duxbury (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology): Expert on pathogenesis related proteins and enzymology.
  • Dr. Jorge Hirt-Chabbert (Aquaculture and Food Science): Expert on biochemical analysis of seafood and finfish aquaculture.
  • Dr. Chris Pook (Analytical Instrumentation): Expert on chemical and genetics tools and applications for aquaculture.
  • Dr. Armagan Sabetian (Finfish aquaculture): Expert on fish population dynamics.
  • Dr. Barbara Breen (Geographic Information Systems): Expert on applications of GIS and data management tools.
  • Mr. Walter Wilson (Immunology): Expert on immunoassay technology.
  • Dr. Luke Krieg (Commercial Research Manager): Expert on legal and commercial aspects of applied scientific research.

Scholarships :

We currently have:

  • Four VC doctoral scholarships awarded to our students, a recent MSc completion with first class honours, and several MSc and PhD completions
  • Six student teaching assistantships
  • Four AUT summer and winter internships
  • several students funded through industry and international scholarships

Contact us:

If you are interested in studying or working with us, please contact:
Associate Professor Andrea C. Alfaro

Aquaculture Biotechnology Group 

Last updated: 31-Aug-2016 3.34pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.