USC scientist joins world-first lobster research hub


Dr Tomer Ventura holds lobster

A USC molecular researcher who pioneered a technique to change the sex of crustaceans will play a vital role in a $26 million, five-year joint project to establish the world’s first land-based rock lobster aquaculture industry in Australia.

Senior Lecturer in Science Dr Tomer Ventura, who has worked at USC’s GeneCology Research Centre for seven years, will bring his aquaculture biotechnology expertise to the project after USC was awarded $500,000 of $5 million in Australian Research Council (ARC) funding. USC also will contribute almost $170,000.

The formation of an ARC Research Hub for Sustainable Onshore Lobster Aquaculture, to be led by the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, was recently announced by the Australian Government.

Tasmanian-based industry partner Ornatas this month started work on the development of a lobster farm at Townsville that will be integral for the success of the hub in turning science and technology into commercial success.

USC’s Dr Ventura will lead the molecular genetics component of the research, developing techniques that will inform the culture of rock lobsters from egg to product-size on a commercial scale.

He said tropical lobsters were prized as seafood, particularly for export. With wild populations under pressure from harvesting around the world, including off the Queensland coast, this project would provide an alternative, sustainable source of high value seafood.

“Rock lobsters are currently caught either at adult product size, or as juveniles – if fishers are lucky enough to find them – and then ranched in sea cages,” Dr Ventura said.

“This project is the first of its kind worldwide to attempt to develop commercial-scale, land-based production systems for the grow-out of rock lobsters, assuring optimal product quality and availability throughout the year.

“I’m hoping to see a menu featuring Australia’s first farmed rock lobster from egg,” said the seafood lover. “I’m volunteering for a taste-test.”

Dr Ventura will travel between hatchery facilities in Tasmania and the farm in Townsville for the project, as well as undertaking molecular analyses in the USC Sunshine Coast laboratories.

“The plan is to hatch farmed lobsters from eggs in Tasmania, then transport the juveniles to Townsville to be grown to full size for sale,” he said.

“The time this takes depend on elements such as nutrition. We’re hoping to use techniques that will shorten the growth periods.

“I’ll be dissecting lobster tissues to see what genes are expressed at each development stage. Then I can identify genetic markers that link with different quality traits of value to the industry.

“For example, we could induce all-male or all-female populations, speed up growth or increase disease resistance.”

Dr Ventura said the hub aimed to create a “digital lobster atlas”, showing all aspects of lobster genetics, and make it available on the internet to inform community and industry.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco said USC was nationally and internationally recognised for its leadership and strength in aquaculture biotechnology research.

“The positioning of Dr Ventura’s research as a major node in this ARC Research Hub is a testimony of the excellence and importance of his research. USC is proud of his work.”

Community Environment Science & Research University & TAFE

University Of The Sunshine Coast : View Full Profile
90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
07 5430 1234
University Of The Sunshine Coast
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
Students awarded for research on life-saving treatment techniques 21 November 2019 | Two teams of USC Paramedic Science students have received Australasian grant awards for investigating techniques used to treat life-threatening emergencies related to diabetes and adrenal insufficiency. More information...
Popular Solar Nights light event to glow again 21 November 2019 | The Sunshine Coast’s largest light trail is set to return at USC, with the hugely popular Solar Nights scheduled for December 13 to 22. More information...
Take step towards study with free uni skills course  21 November 2019 | A free, two-day university skills course with no assignments or exams is being offered to Caboolture adults wanting to explore their higher education and career options. More information...
USC PhD student opens the gate on bioresearch 21 November 2019 | Implantable biosensors that can override natural biological systems might sound like something from a science fiction movie, but research being undertaken by a USC PhD student could see them soon become a reali... More information...
Future teachers receive important reading lesson 19 November 2019 | Future teachers studying Education at USC have returned to primary school as part of an innovative training program focused on improving literacy for children. More information...
Clever campus cooling system shines again 21 November 2019 | Within weeks of claiming a major global environmental award, USC Australia’s creative use of solar energy to cool its Sunshine Coast campus has shone again in the Australasia region. More information...
SUP junior world title for USC student athlete 18 November 2019 | A USC Environmental Science student’s dedication to the fast-growing ocean sport of Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) has resulted in a gold medal at her first world championships. More information...
Touch champion claims USC sports award 15 November 2019 | Dally M medal winner for the NRL’s national touch competition Hayley Maddick has been named USC’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2019. More information...
University to celebrate its sporting champions 13 November 2019 | Athletes vying for and selected in Australian teams for the Tokyo Olympic Games are among the students in the running for prizes at USC’s annual Sports Awards Ceremony tomorrow evening (Thursday 14 November). More information...
Researchers seek details about supporting dads 11 November 2019 | Researchers investigating the significance of fathers in young children’s lives and the benefits of providing support to new dads are about to start a new phase of their study.  More information...

comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service