These five lines of research provide high quality scientific knowledge for issues essential to the sustainable development of aquaculture.
RP1: Aquaculture Genome Technology
This research line is focused on the study of growth, nutrition, reproduction and immune system function in aquaculture species. One of the main goals of this line is to develop genomic projects (transcriptome) in red ling (Genypterus chilensis), coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), sea lice (Caligus rogercresseyi), mussels (Mytilus chilensis), Chilean abalone (Concholepas concholepas) and giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), including the sequencing of the complete genome of sea lice.
Recently, the National Fishing and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA) through the Exempt Resolution N° 10728 designated the Biotechnology and Aquaculture Genomics Laboratory (LBGA) of the University of Concepción as a National Reference Laboratory (LCR) for diagnosis and investigation of Caligidosis, disease caused by the sea lice Caligus rogercresseyi that affects salmonids in Chile. This fact is a milestone in the development of high level scientific research applied to diseases that affect the sustainability of the national aquaculture sector.
RP2: Marine Genomics and Native Resources
This research line is focused on increasing the knowledge of the physiological adaptations of fish, which will ensure the successful culture of native marine species. Valuable information will be generated to better understand the genetic adjustments what these organisms need to develop in order to physiologically adapt to the environmental changes inherent to culture conditions (e.g. nutritional, stress, oxygen concentrations and temperature).
RP3 - Animal Health
The central objective of the research line in Animal Health is the molecular study of various viral, bacterial, mycotic diseases, as well as endemic parasites and other unreported microorganisms, which affect Chilean aquaculture. In particular, efforts will be concentrated on the study of virulence mechanisms, transmission pathways and the deposit of pathogenic agents; the development of diagnostic methods and efficient treatments for prevalent pathogens; the identification and characterization of molecular mechanisms involved in antibiotic resistance of bacterial pathogens; the genomic analysis of the genes involved in host/pathogen interactions; the determination of markers of the innate immune response in salmon; the integration of oceanographic environmental variability as a key epidemiological factor for sustainable aquaculture.
RP4 - Environmental Sustainability
This line of research focuses its efforts on environmental-oceanographic factors, which determine the viability of sustainable aquaculture within a given area, over different spatial and temporal scales, as well as variability at different physiological and biological levels present in the environment. This line will treat the main environmental factors that can trigger sea lice infestation and piscirickettsiosis.
RP5 - Socioeconomic Sustainability
This line of research concentrates its efforts on assessing the impact of aquaculture activities on the standard of living of coastal communities. It also treats issues like the viability of the aquaculture sector based on economic incentives, and the predictive patterns that model the development of the aquaculture industry in Chile.