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Modelling and forecasting of salmon parasites

Salmon aquaculture is a key component of the Scottish economy, and has now seen steady growth over several decades. However, there are several factors limiting further expansion. The most important of these are parasitic sea lice, which have both environmental and economic impacts. Understanding how these parasites spread, and the factors that lead to outbreaks, has become a key concern for the industry.

To gain this understanding, this project will take a novel approach to link the outputs from state-of-the-art computer models (which describe coastal currents and potential dispersal of sea lice in Scottish waters) with the factors that govern how lice populations develop on fish farm sites themselves. The project will integrate a range of unique data sources, including up-to-date weekly sea lice counts and associated physical parameters, and will allow development of a prototype forecasting tool. This will allow a leap forward in our understanding of the parasite’s ecology, offering benefits such as reduced chemical treatment and lower environmental impacts.

This PhD project is an opportunity for a numerate student interested in the interactions between physical and ecological processes to make a real impact in the way salmon farms are managed in Scotland and globally. The project is co-supervised by staff from SAMS (academic), Marine Harvest Scotland (industry) and Marine Science Scotland (regulator). The student will collaborate closely with colleagues in these organisations and have the opportunity to spend an extended period based at Marine Harvest in Fort William.

This project is co-funded by MASTS/The Data Lab and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, including a stipend and UK/EU fees. The studentship covers fees at the Home/EU/International rate only, plus a stipend at the UKRI-RCUK level, for a total of 42 months (including writing-up time). Funding is available for students worldwide, however non UK/EU students will be liable for the difference between home/EU and international fees (value TBC)

PhD position
Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Closing date
December 25th, 2018
Posted on
September 25th, 2018 10:39
Last updated
September 25th, 2018 10:39