Aquaculture, Biotechnology, & Biodiscovery

Economic benefit can be drawn from the natural environment by sustainable use of biological resources. NUI Galway has a history of research in aquaculture, with additional areas of work seeking to underpin developments in biotechnology and biodiscovery.


Richard Fitzgerald, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Richard Fitzgerald
Carna Research Station
Phone: (095) 32201; Email:
Richard is the Research Co-ordinator at the Carna Research Station, a Senior Research Fellow and adjunct Lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway, and project Co-ordinator for the EIRCOD project. R&D interests in the Aquaculture and Fisheries sectors including: growth performance of finfish in response to critical rearing conditions and husbandry practices; growth modelling; feed utilisation and formation of social hierarchies in farmed fish populations; novel dietary formulations for farmed fish; immuno-competence of farmed stocks; finished/harvest product characteristics and quality. Other research interests are the ecology of inshore/intertidal wild fish communities of the Connemara region; coastal zone management issues; sustainable development of natural resource-based industries; fish parasitology and fish meristics/morphometrics.
Photo: Dr. Ger Fleming, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Gerard Fleming
Microbial Oceanography Research Unit, Microbiology
Phone: (091) 49 3562; Email:
The research focus in this area targets culture-dependent techniques (operated under in situ conditions of pressure) to select for Deep-Sea microorganisms with desired phenotypes. We have considerable experience in carrying out enrichments in pressure vessels operated as batch cultures and  are currently developing a sampling system which can take samples at depth,  transfer these samples into experimental incubation chambers which can be run semi-continuously in the laboratory without loss of pressure. The system will enrich for microorganisms (for example obligate extremophiles such as piezopdurics) which are capable of metabolising novel or recalcitrant substrates. This will provide a targeted approach to biodiscovery which is based on functionality of enriched phenotypes
Photo: Prof. Mark Johnson, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Prof. Mark Johnson
Marine Environment
Phone: (091) 49 5864; Email:
Research in this area seeks to apply taxonomic and ecological knowledge to underpin applied research. For example, novel bioactive research needs an understanding of what the source species is, where it is most likely to be found and what factors may affect the bioactivity. I collaborate within the context of the Beaufort Biodiscovery award and the Nutramara award in marine functional foods.
Dr. Grace McCormack, Ryan Institute for Environmental Marine and Energy Research Dr. Grace McCormack
Phone: (091) 49 2321; Email:
The molecular evolution and systematics laboratory investigates the activity of compounds isolated from marine sponges against cancer cell lines and microbes in collaboration with other groups.
Photo: Dr. Anne Marie Power, Ryan Insitute for Environment, Marine and Energy Dr. Anne Marie Power
Phone: (091) 49 3015; Email:
Research interests in the applied sciences include the functioning of bioglues from marine sources for possible applications in surgery or anti-fouling; fish reproductive physiology (manipulating spawning of potential aquaculture species).
Photo: Dagmar Stengel, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Dagmar Stengel
Botany and Plant Science
Phone:(091) 49 3192; Email:
In this area, research interests include algal growth in mesocosm experiments for climate change simulation, the cultivation of macro- and microalgae under different conditions to optimise algal biomass production, and enhanced production and optimisation of primary and secondary metabolites with industrial potential.
  Prof. Deniz Tasdemir
Phone:(091) 49 2450; Email:
Primary research interest rests in discovery and development of marine natural products for human illnesses such as cancer, infectious diseases, and neurological/sleep disorders. This includes a) screening, chemical profiling of complex marine extracts b) extraction, bioactivity-guided purification, structure elucidation and bioactivity assessment of primary and secondary marine metabolites c) determination of mechanism of biological action of marine molecules, from coastal/deep-sea marine invertebrates, marine macro-/micro-algae and marine-derived microorganisms. She is also involved in Nutramara Marine Functional Foods Project on the evaluation of aquaculture waste as source of bioactive molecules.