Aquaculture Research at UNH: Using Fish Physiology to Help Growers of Commercially Important Species

An image of an  alewife, 45 days old, taken by a COLSA aquaculture researcher.

About the Research

The work done in the Berlinsky Lab at UNH helps to improve the cultivation of commercially important finfish species by understanding and ultimately controlling physiological processes. For example, by understanding reproductive processes, researchers can control the timing of fish breeding, alter the ultimate sex of fishes in an aquaculture system, and enhance egg quality. Professor David Berlinsky and his students also study environmental conditions that minimize stress and optimize growth of cultivated fish, such as salinity, light intensity, tank densities, and temperature.

Why the Research is Important

Optimizing culture conditions and strains is necessary to assure adequate growth and survival of fishes cultured for food and for stock restoration. This work is also important to understand and, in some cases, mitigate the impacts of adverse environmental conditions on wild fishes.

Interesting Findings

Researchers in the Berlinsky Lab found that stress can influence the timing and extent of sex change in black sea bass. They also recently discovered that strains of Atlantic coast striped bass have differential growth rates and stress tolerance in recirculating aquaculture systems.

Big Picture

With declining fish stocks, aquaculture is becoming more and more important to generate protein for human consumption. The work of the Berlinsky lab helps to improve the efficiency of fish aquaculture and understand factors contributing to wild fish population declines.

A photo of a tank full of juvenile black sea bass.

A tank full of juvenile black sea bass.

Funding & Collaborations

An image of a rainbow smelt embryo, taken by a UNH aquaculture researcher.

An image of a rainbow smelt embryo.

A cannibalistic rainbow smelt, as captured by a UNH aquaculture researcher.

A rainbow smelt eating another smelt.