Aquaculture currently supplies half of the seafood for global human consumption and is projected to grow in the near future in order to cope with increasing demands. However, the aquaculture industry is facing several challenges concerning the growth and sustainability of the industry.
One such issue is avoiding disease outbreaks and maintaining sustainable feed-stocks for cultured fish. There is increasing evidence that an animal's gut microbiota is important for host development, digestion, disease resistance and health.
In this project, we work closely with scientists at the NSW DPI Port Stephens Fisheries Institute (PSFI) to understand the importance of gut health and how healthy microbiota develop in commercially important aquaculture species. Recent findings demonstrate a strong correlation between gut microbes and those associated with a given feed-stock. The next phase of this project will be to develop strategies to augment these microbes and/or deliver beneficial probiotic consortia specific to the individual species' health and digestive needs.