Aquaculture Division

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

About 

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 resistance 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 assets, 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
Researcher
​Sylvie Bolla
Associate Professor
​Einar Skarstad Egeland
Associate Professor
​Peter Schulze
Researcher
​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
​Mette Sørensen
​Professor
​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
    Florence Perera
    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


Selected Research Projects

ARCTAQUA - Cross-Border Innovations in Arctic Aquaculture

The ARCTAQUA main objective is to promote the development of sustainable aquaculture in the Arctic region. For this, the ARCTAQUA will address main bottlenecks in the production of novel fish species (Arctic char, spotted wolffish, European whitefish and nelma) in the Arctic region which will improve the economical feasibility of these species production and expand this industry. Ultimately, the ARCTAQUA will result in new job opportunities and contribute for the economical development of the Arctic region.

ARCTAQUA's Norwegian partners are Nord University, Sigerfjord Fisk AS and Avatik AS. 

The other partners include Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg,  Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), Murmansk State Technical University and GosNIORH (State Research Institute of Lske and River Fisheries) from Russia. 


PROJECT MANAGER

DiTail - Marine Disposal of Mine Tailings

During marine tailing disposal large quantities of fine inorganic particles, associated metals and processing chemicals are introduced into the marine environment. DiTail aims to study the potential effects of mine tailing and mine tailing component exposure on pelagic copepods and early life stages of fish. Through integration of effects data into tailing transport models that will be developed within the project it will be attempted to assess the exposure of individuals to tailings.

"DiTail - Marine Disposal of Mine Tailings: Impacts on Pelagic Ecosystem Components in Norwegian Fjords" is a co-operation between SINTEF Ocean, NTNU, DEBTox, BioTrix og University of Chile.

The project has been allocated around NOK 8 million through the Research Council's MARINFORSK program.


PROJECT MANAGER

Algae to Future

A2F's vision is to lay the foundation for industrial microalgae production in Norway, utilizing natural resources and waste streams from existing production lines within agriculture, aquaculture and process industry.

A2F brings Algae to the Future by integrating Fundamental Algae Research and Applied Industrial Practices. A2F envisages that the knowledge and technology platform provided by the project will create a viable microalgae industry as a part of the new Norwegian bio economy within the next 10 to 15years.

The project budget is NOK 54,7 millions where NOOK 39,9 millions is allocated from the Research Council of Norway.The project is led by NIBIO (Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research) and has several collaborators.

A2F is divided into 10 work packages (WPs), where Nord University is responible for WP6: Potential for use of lipid rich algal biomass: Fish as a case study. The objective is to demonstrate the suitability of microalgae as a source of PUFAs, protein, antioxidants and pigments in salmon feeds, enabling the production of high-value seafood.


PROJECT MANAGER


 Head of Aquaculture Division

Team

Scientific staff

​Name
​Position
Harald Aaker​
​Assoc. Professor
Marit Bjørnevik
Assoc. Professor
Sylvie Bolla
Assoc. Professor
Einar Skarstad Egeland
Assoc. Professor
Ørjan Hagen
Assoc. Professor
Martin H. Iversen
Assoc. Professor
Chris André Johnsen
Assoc. Professor
Torstein Kristensen
Assoc. Professor
Grete Lysfjord
Assoc. Professor
Ove Nicolaisen
Assoc. Professor
Pål Olsvik
​Professor
Mette Sørensen 
​Professor
Kiron Viswanath
​Professor
Kjetil Korsnes 
Professor II
Rene Wijffels
Professor II

Researchers and postdoctors

​Name 
​Position
Jose Beirao dos Santos
​Researcher
Bisa Saraswathy
Researcher
Christopher Hulatt
Researcher
Peter Schulze
Researcher
Juline Walter
​Postdoctor

Technical staff

​Name
​Position
Ingvild Johanna Berg
Head Engineer
Dalia Dahle
Head Engineer
Heidi H. Ludviksen
Head Engineer
Anjana Palihawadana
Head Engineer
Deepti Manjari Patel
​Senior Engineer
Ghana Vasanth
Head Engineer