2009-2012 Aarhus University, DK. MSc Biology
Description of research and teaching
My background is marine biology, fish biology, and fisheries sciences along with professional experience in environmental chemistry.
Captive reared salmon released to the wild for conservation purposes fair pretty poorly with not enough surviving to render such programmes efficient. Captive developed behaviours becoming maladaptive in the wild and compromising survival are the main course of mortality.
My current work focusses on the mechanisms behind captive behavioural adaptation in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and how this can be altered in order to improve the prospects of released salmon. Using brain size data from salmon of wild or captive parentage reared in a standard or enriched environment I hope to uncover changes in neural phenotype that underpin behavioural changes in captivity.
So far we have discovered that wild origin and enriched rearing enhance brain development in captive reared salmon. Also, interestingly, a few generations in captivity appear to induce brain size plasticity in captive parented salmon reared in different environments, a pattern not seen in wild parented salmon. Next, understanding how captive brain phenotypes compare to wild caught conspecifics of the same population will allow us to further improve already enriched rearing techniques in order to improve the wild suitability of captive reared salmon. This will lead to the rearing of salmon better suited to the wild upon release and improve the prospects of expensive conservation release programmes.
Fields of Science
- 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology