Aquaculture Division

Faggruppe Akvakultur
The Aquaculture Division researches issues related to biological conditions for further development of the Norwegian aquaculture industry.

Description 

Aquaculture production and in particular salmonid farming, is representing a great asset for Norwegian value creation and is an important contributor to healthy food production. The research group performs research addressing new solutions to challenges related to fish welfare, fish health, product quality, aquaculture – environment interaction, new feed ingredients and production technology. Sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry requires more knowledge of preventive fish health, new production technology to solve environmental challenges, so that Norwegian-produced seafood is associated with quality, sustainability and high ethical standards. The aquaculture group's project portfolio extends from basic research, which seeks to understand biological mechanisms - to applied research projects together with the aquaculture industry. 

Research areas

Fish welfare and production optimalisation

  • Fish welfare is a key to produce a fish with improved disease resistence and increased survival rate from egg to on-growth in the netpens. 

    - Projects: Fishwell, Rensvel

    ​Team
    ​Martin Haugmo Iversen
    Associate Professor
    ​Torstein Krisensen
    Associate Professor
    ​Grete Lysfjord
    Associate Professor
    ​Ove Nicolaisen
    Associate Professor
    ​John Björn Sällebrant
    PhD Candidate
  • Production optimalisation and new technology to reduce environmental footprint from the aquaculture sector.

    Research is performed connected to new production technology or production strategies. Examples of such technology is use of cleanerfish to compat salmon lice, production in semiclosed containment, new technology to monitor fish welfare. Economy is also evaluated using different production strategies, feeding strategies – or production with use of new technology.

    - Projects: CycLus, Kapsel, Botngaard

    ​Team
    Torstein Krisensen
    Associate Professor
    Martin Haugmo Iversen
    Associate Professor
    Harald Aaker​Associate Professor
    Grete Lysfjord
    Associate Professor
    ​Mette Sørensen
    ​Professor
    ​Ove Nicolaisen
    Associate Professor
    ​John Birger Ulvund
    PhD Candidate
    ​Fredrik Staven
    PhD Candidate
    ​Miiro Virtanen
    PhD Candidate
  • Fish reproduction & gamet qualty.

    Farming of new species may be challanged by knowledge gap of production biology and reproduction cycle. Wolffish and Atlantic Halibut are both species with a considerable potential for Norwegian aquaculture. Knowledge about successful reproduction and early life stage is critical for use of  these and other species in commercial aquaculture.  More knowledge is needed to improve the success of reproduction and survival after hatching. 

    - Projects: Wolfegg, Wolfstore, Nytt kveiteprosjekt

    Team
    ​Sylvie Bolla
    Associate Professor
    ​Jose Beira dos Santos
    ​Postdoctoral Fellow
    Mette Sørensen
    ​Professor
    ​Oddvar Harald Ottesen
    ​Emeritus

Microalgae biotechnology

Microalage are one of nature’s most valuable assests, and these diverse group of microorganisms are found mostly in aquatic habitats. Mankind has tapped this resource for millenia. The past couple of decades has witnessed great interest in microalgae biotechnology because metabolites produced by microalgae are of high commercial value. 

Research on microalgae was initiated at Nord University in 2009, to examine the potential of defatted biomass—derived as a co-product of biofuel production—as a feed ingredient for fish and shellfish. Ever since, through national and international funding, we have been examining defatted and whole microalgae as potential components in the fish feeds of different species.

Another line of research spans from identifying cold-adapted microalgae to in-depth molecular studies for optimizing their growing conditions and enriching their high-value metabolites such as fatty acids, pigments and polysaccharides. We are engaged in developing bioprocesses under different environmental conditions. This knowledge is important given that microalgae should have a future role in Norwgian bio-economy.  

- Projects: Defatted microalgae from biorefinery as aquafeeds (2009-2011), Large-Scale Production of Fuels & Feed from Marine Microalgae (2012-2015), Marine Algae Industrialisation Consortium (2017-2020), Bioteknologi - en framtidsrettet næring (2014-2018), Alger4laks (2016-2020), Algae to Future (2017-2021), Metabolism of novel strain of Arctic algae (2017-2020)

Team
René Wijffels
​Professor II
​Kiron Viswanath
​Professor
​Mette Sørensen
​Professor
​Chris Hulatt
Postdoctoral Fellow
​Daniela Morales Sanchez
Postdoctoral Fellow
​Sylvie Bolla
Associate Professor
​Einar Skarstad Egeland
Associate Professor
​Peter Schulze
PhD Candidate
​Hirono Szuzuki
PhD Candidate

Fish microbiome and preventive health

Microbiota is the ecological community of microorganisms that reside the surfaces of a fish. In practical terms we often refer to them as gut microbiota or skin microbiota. A healthy fish harbours a dense and diverse population of commensal microorganisms, which offer many benefits to the host, including immune homeostasis and health maintenance. On going research at FBA is seeking new knowledge to understand the profile of a healthy gut bacterial assembly as well as the entire genetic material in within the microbiota - the microbiom. The microbiome  is shaped by environment- and host-related factors.


Team​
​Kiron Viswanath
​Professor
​Lokesh Jeppinamogeru
Postdoctoral Fellow
​Mette Sørensen
​Professor
​Adriana Feckaninova
​Guest Postdoctoral Fellow
​Shruti Gupta
PhD Candidate
​Yousri Abdelhafiz
PhD Candidate
  • Intestinal immune system and mucosal defence
Mucosal barrier is important for maintaining a healthy gut. The mucosa represents a barrier and if this is broken, nutrient digestibility and utilization may become disturbed – and besides, it will result in an activation of the immune system. Our research is seeking answers to the interaction between ingredients and intestinal mucosa, and it also includes means to strengthen the mucosal barriers.


Team​
​Kiron Viswanath
​Professor
Mette Sørensen
​Professor
​Youngjin Park
PhD Candidate
Solveig Lysfjord Sørensen
PhD Candidate

Feed and Product Quality

  • Sustainable ingredients and aquafeeds

    The research group is involved in different projects investigating how salmonids and new species respond to formulated feed based on novel marine ingredients and plant products. Parameters studied are novel ingredients and effects on intestinal health, growth and feed utilization.

    - Projects: Fungut, Fôr til rognkjeks, Wolffish, Rognkjeks, Blood & Health

    Team​
    ​Kiron Viswanath
    ​Professor
    Mette Sørensen
    ​Professor
    ​Ørjan Hagen
    Associate Professor
    Yangyang Gong
    PhD Candidate
    Florence Perera
    PhD Candidate
    ​Helene R. Knutsen
    PhD Candidate

  • Product quality

    Example of research questions: Is the quality of fish affected by production systems, different environmental conditions and new feed materials. How does muscle structure and composition affect product quality?


    Team
    ​Ørjan Hagen
    Associate Professor
    ​Marit Bjørnevik
    Associate Professor
    ​Chris André Johnsen
    Associate Professor
    ​Mette Sørensen
    ​Professor
    ​Kiron Viswanath
    ​Professor
    ​Einar Skarstad Egeland
    Associate Professor
    ​Grete Lysfjord
    Associate Professor

Toxicology

  • Potential impact of microplastics on the environmental footprint of Atlantic salmon farming?

    Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the world. In order to ensure sustainability, the environmental footprint of the industry should be kept as low as possible. Feedborne contaminants, contaminants associated with of equipment use and drugs may all impact the local environment around fish farms. Small plastic debris is today ubiquitous in the marine environment. Hazards associated with plastic debris include physical components of the materials and chemicals toxicity (ingredients in the plastic and adsorbed contaminants). This project aims to increase the understanding of the potential role of microplastics on the dispersion of contaminants associated with fish farms, in order to ensure the sustainability of marine aquaculture. 

    - Project: Internt mikroplast-prosjekt

    - Collaboration: Havforskningsinstituttet (HI), International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS)


    ​Team
    ​Pål A. Olsvik (prosjektleder)
    ​Professor
    ​Torstein Kristensen
    Associate Professor
    ​Kiron Viswanath
    ​Professor
    ​Isabel S. Abihssira García
    PhD Candidate


  • Disposal of mine tailings in Norwegian fjords and impacts on key ecosystem species. 

    Mining activities generate large quantities of waste called mine tailings that need to be disposed. A cost-effective approach practised in Norway is to dispose tailings in the sea. The deposition of large amounts of mineral waste in fjords may result in suboptimal living conditions for local organisms. Early life stages of animals such as larvae of copepods and fish are particularly vulnerable to stress. In this project we aim to study how exposure to fine tailings, with and without mining chemicals, at sublethal levels will affect Calanus copepods, fish eggs and fish larvae. 

    - Projects: NFR prosjekt «Disposal of mine tailings in Norwegian fjords and impacts on key ecosystem species»

    - Collaboration: SINTEF, NTNU, DEBtox, BioTrix 

    ​Team
    ​Pål A. Olsvik (prosjektleder)
    ​Professor
    ​Torstein Kristensen
    Associate Professor




Selected Research Projects


Team

Scientific Members




Harald Aaker​​Associate Professor
Jose Beirao dos Santos​Postdoctoral Fellow
Marit Bjørnevik​​Associate Professor and Vice Dean of Education
Sylvie BollaAssociate Professor
Einar Skarstad EgelandAssociate Professor
Ørjan HagenAssociate Professor
Christopher Hulatt​Researcher
Martin H. IversenAssociate Professor
​Lokesh Jep
Postdoctoral Fellow
Chris André JohnsenAssociate Professor
Kjetil Korsnes 
​Professor II
Torstein KristensenAssociate Professor
Grete LysfjordAssociate Professor
Ove NicolaisenAssociate Professor
Pål Olsvik​Professor
Mette Sørensen (faggruppeleder)​Professor
Ole Torrisen​Professor II
​Kiron Viswanath
​Professor
Rene Wijffels​Prosessor II

Technicians




Ingvild Johanna Berg​Head Engineer
Dalia DahleHead Engineer
Heidi H. LudviksenHead Engineer
​Anjana Palihawadana​Staff Engineer
Deepti Manjari Patel
Senior Engineer
Ghana VasanthHead Engineer