Researcher benefits from international experience

A young aquaculture scientist at Dalhousie University's Faculty of Agriculture has been collaborating with the National Center for Mariculture in Israel, looking at ways to improve sea bream production.

Published Last updated

Lindsey Gillard started her undergraduate degree at Memorial University in Newfoundland, but soon realized she wanted to take her passion for aquaculture to another level.

“I’ve always pictured a triangle of society, science and the aquaculture industry,” explained Lindsey.  “I wanted to address the benefits and advantages of aquaculture to society, based on scientific research, and involve the aquaculture industry in these discussions.  I had this crazy notion that I could facilitate these connections.”

Lindsey’s research has empowered her to stand up and speak out about the benefits and advantages of aquaculture.  It has also led her to exciting research on the other side of the world.

In December 2015, Lindsey left the country for the first time to travel to Eilat City, Israel. There, she worked in a hatchery for three weeks, investigating techniques to increase production and feed efficiency of sea bream.

“Sea bream is an incredibly popular aqua species in Europe, with much of its production along the Mediterranean Sea.  My research looks at how we can grow it better,” explained Lindsey.  In particular, she’s looking at ways to increase the larval survival rate, potentially through dietary protein provision.

Lindsey’s time in Israel was a unique experience that brought her face-to-face with inspirational aquaculture scientists and added an international perspective to her project.

“My Israeli committee members, Dr Bill Koven and Dr Amir Bitan, are based in Israel, and were incredible mentors and hosts,” said Lindsey.  “I also built a strong partnership with Oriya Nixon, an aquaculture technician, who was a wealth of knowledge and with her help, I was able to successfully complete my experiments in Eilat.”

Lindsey’s work is part of newly-funded projects with Dr Sarah Stewart-Clark and Dr Jim Duston through the Schulich Ocean Studies Centre Initiative.  The funding allows for collaboration between ocean researchers at Dalhousie University and Israel's National Center for Mariculture. Overall, the project aims to increase larval survival of striped bass and sea bream through better protein absorption at this early stage of life.

“Lindsey is an exceptional graduate student,” shared Dr Stewart-Clark.  “She has not allowed any obstacle to get in her way and is excelling at her research.  I have no doubt that Lindsey has a bright future as a scientist and it is an honour to be part of that journey with her.”

Lindsey attends industry and academic conferences, and is actively involved with the Female Leaders in Academia (FLIA) group on campus.  She recently presented her preliminary results at the annual Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia conference, Sea Farmers 2016, and her enthusiasm and passion for her work was abundantly clear.

Although Lindsey’s research continues at Dalhousie, she is already planning her next trip to Israel.

“I’m homesick for a place that was never home,” said Lindsey.  “The Israeli people were welcoming and friendly, and I can’t wait to go back.”