Marine Ökologie

Aquaculture Research

Aquaculture & Fish Diseases - Overview


Decreasing catches of wild fish due to mismanagement, overfishing and increasing demand for premium fish fuels the global expansion of fish culture. For a sustainable development of the aquaculture industry it is important that environmental aspects, consumer health, and animal welfare are considered on a sound scientific base.

In our current project Fine-Aqua (2012 – 2015) we focus on the larval and the juvenile stages of fish to counteract high mortalities during the rearing in open and closed circulating aquaculture systems.
Larvae are the most sensitive life stage and during their development mortality rates of up to 90 % can occur. Our aim is to optimize the feed for sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) in order to increase growth (e.g. provision of essential nutrients) and avoid disease associated mortalities via strengthening of the larval immune system due to feeding of probiotics and immunostimulants.
In our work focussing on juvenile turbots we aim to develop innovative solutions for disease detection and elucidating mechanisms of infection and stress responses. This work will lead to increased welfare and health in marine aquaculture.

Fine-Aqua is a collaborative project with GMA Büsum and is financed by the Business Development and Technology Transfer Corporation of Schleswig-Holstein.


In collaboration with the Universities of Kiel, Flensburg and Saarbrücken the NEMO project (2009 – 2012) investigated the potential of land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) for a sustainable production of marine fish. In contrast to the more common culture in net cages, well-known from reports on salmon culture, RAS allow for a production of fish with almost no pollution of the environment with organic wastes, nutrients, pharmaceutics and other chemicals. The aims of the Nemo aquaculture research team were to investigate and optimize the welfare of fish in RAS, study the potential of plants for binding nutrients in RAS, develop new live and formulated feeds for larval fish, test basic hypotheses of growth physiology, and gather and disseminate information on the requirements of cultured species with an Internet-based system.


People involved at GEOMAR

Prof. Thorsten BH Reusch

Prof. Ulrich Sommer

Dr. Catriona Clemmesen-Bockelmann

Dr. Joanna J. Miest

Dr. Carmen Arndt

Andrea Franke

Fabian Wendt