Dr. Joanna Miest


Forschungsbereich 3: Marine Ökologie
Marine Evolutionsökologie

Raum: A53
Tel.: 0431 600 4569
Fax: 0431 600 4553
E-Mail: jmiest(at)geomar.de

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR)
Düsternbrooker Weg 20
24105 Kiel




My research focusses on the development of innovative solutions for increasing productivity in aquaculture especially focussing on welfare and diseases in aquaculture. Currently I am foccusing on various aspects of turbot immunology and disease detection:

  • Increasing survival in turbot larvae
    In nature but also in the fish prodcution industry the larvae stage of fish is the most sensitive stage with up to 99% of loss.This loss if often associated with disease as the immune system of fish larvae is not fully developed.
    In this project, which is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Carmen Arndt and industrial partners, we are investigating, if the administration of immunomodulants and other feed supplements can increase survival and immunity of turbot larvae.
  • Developing novel non-invasive methods to detect disease
    Infectious diseases are a major concern for this vital food-producing industry, costing $3 billion annually, and threatening the economic sustainability of production (FAO 2012). Diagnosis is especially difficult in aquaculture and infections are often not detected before serious symptoms and death occurs. In addition, current standard diagnostic tools (ELISAs, PCR) only test for the presence of previously described pathogens, are most often invasive, and are limited in that they can only detect infection in each individual tested, and not the population as a whole.
    Addressing this problem I work with Dr. Daniel Bray I am working on a non-invasive method using to detect stress and disease in the surrounding water. This project is partly funded by the DAAD.
  • Effect of stress on skin immunity
    Farming of fish in high densities leads to stress and immunosuppression in the animals. In collaboration with Dr. Mikolaj Adamek I aim to elucidate some of the mechanisms behind the effects of stress on immunity. For this purpose we are using cortisol implants to increase cortisol levels in juvenile turbot and analyse immunity and  and barrier function in skin.
    This project will help us understand how stress can lead to higher infection rates in fish. This knowledge can then be used to develop novel treatment and prevention methods.


  • Molecular techniques: gel-electrophoresis, conventional, reverse transcription and real time PCR (Standart and Biomark Fluidigm systems), primer design, sanger sequencing
  • Histology: fluorescent microscopy, apoptosis stainings on single cells and histological slides
  • Cell culture: culturing of primary cell cultures and cell lines
  • Physiology methods: respiration measurements with oxygen optodes (PreSens) in the open and closed system, cortisol extraction from water and cortisol ELISA
  • Chemical ecology methods: solid phase extraction of odours from water
  • Handling, dissection and sample collection of fish and fish larvae


  • seit 2012
    Geomar Helmholtz Institut für Ozeanforschung Kiel
    Postdoc für Aquakultur und Fischkrankheiten (Projekt FineAqua)
  • 04/08 – 07/08       
    eurelations AG, Zürich, Schweiz
    Assistenz Projektmanagement und Beantragung von Forschungsprojekten


  • 2009 – 2012
    Keele University, England
    Ph.D. "Apoptosis and its association with immunomodulation and disease in common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.)" innerhalbt des EU NEMO project
    Betreuer: Prof. Dave Hoole, Prof. Gwyn Williams
  • 2007 – 2008
    Alfred-Wegener-Institute für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven
    Diplomarbeit "Vergleichende Untersuchungen zum temperaturabhängigen Sauerstoffverbrauch isolierter Leberzellen von Kabeljau (Gadus morhua) aus verschiedenen Populationen."
    Betreuer: Prof. Hans-Otto Pörtner and Dr. Gisela Lannig.
  • 2001 – 2008
    Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg
    Diplomstudium Biologie
    • Tierphysiologie/Neurobiologie/Verhaltensforschung
    • Zellbiologie
    • Ökologie/Evolution


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