Additions to the Centre for Aquaculture Technologies breeding team. From left: Dr Peter Kube, Jeffrey Prochaska and Carlos Pulgarin. Photos: CAT.

CAT strengthens breeding team

North America-based R&D and contract service organisation the Centre for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT), has added three leading scientists to its breeding team.

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CAT, an expert in aquatic animal genetics, said the appointments were a response to increase demand for its services.

Dr Peter Kube, Carlos Pulgarin, and Jeffrey Prochaska will contribute to the expansion of innovative commercial genetic improvement programs for worldwide clients.

Salmon, oyster, abalone

Kube, newly appointed as senior quantitative geneticist, has more than 17 years of experience in aquaculture genetics. In his previous role at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), he oversaw the inception of applied breeding programs for a variety of aquatic species – including Atlantic salmon, Pacific oyster, and abalone – and their transition to data-rich programs boosted by modern DNA tools.

“Data is the heart of applied breeding, it is fuel for decisions,” said Kube in a press release. “Collecting data and turning it into metrics helps producers find a balance between diversity and genetic improvement.”

Prochaska and Pulgarin have joined CAT as breeding scientists. Prochaska, who has nearly 20 years of experience coordinating information exchange between geneticists and breeders, said: “Environmental variability, the size and number of animals in stock, and varying life cycles all pose a challenge for aquaculture producers.

“Acquiring data over multiple generations will lead the way to accelerated genetic improvement in stock, which is key to reducing the cost of production and increasing profitability.”

Commercial potential

Pulgarin has provided technical support and breeding advice to aquaculture producers for over 12 years. He said: “Many aquatic animals have commercial potential for farming. Working with diverse species, collecting and analysing breeding information allows CAT to help producers breed strains that deliver great benefit to consumers and require fewer resources for production.”

CAT’s director of genomics and breeding, Dr Klara Verbyla, said: “I am thrilled to have Jeff, Carlos and Peter joining our team. Collectively, they bring years of experience and expertise in the application of genetic improvement to a diverse range of aquatic species and further enhance the breeding teams’ expertise.

“With the team growing, we are immensely excited about the potential to accelerate CAT’s ability to create real impact across the aquaculture sector through breeding.”