The Centre for Marine Microbiology and Genetics Research will provide genetic and microbiology facilities for the proposed Centre for Innovation in Tropical Aquaculture (CITA).
CITA is a proposed collaborative initiative involving AIMS, James Cook University, the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (QDPI‘F) and other research and industry partners, along with the AIMS@JCU aquaculture initiative. It will be devoted to resolving current blockages in existing tropical aquaculture industries in Queensland, and to developing new tropical aquaculture industries generally.
Researchers at the Centre will apply high technology tools (some to be developed within CMMG) to solve aquaculture problems. The facility will also provide larger scale experimental facilities for Proof of Concept phases.
One project already underway at CMMG is addressing tropical aquaculture bottlenecks, including understanding disease processes in new target aquaculture species such as the tropical rock lobsterPanulirus ornatus. This is expected to lead to management regimes for controlling disease outbreaks and enabling closure of the lobster larval life-cycle.
Further examples of CMMG aquaculture research projects include the use of DNA microarray technology to understand the basis of economically important traits such as disease resistance in prawns or pearl quality in oysters, and the use of functional genomics to dissect the hormonal pathways controlling reproduction in prawns or reproductive development in rock lobster larvae.
Possible commercial products might include molecular markers to add significant value to selective breeding programs, and hormonal treatments to speed development or induce reproduction in aquaculture species.