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EASTBIO The role and optimisation of the microbiome in molluscan larval development

Project Description

Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies / The Roslin Institute

Bivalve hatcheries produce millions of juvenile animals for on-growing in aquaculture farms worldwide. However, within the hatchery environment it is not uncommon for larval batches to suffer large scale mortalities. This project aims to determine the role of the microbiome (bacteria and viruses) in molluscan larval development. The project will begin with an initial characterisation of the microbiome, virome and physicochemical environment in hatchery and experimental systems, followed by several forms of hypothesis driven manipulation. Manipulation will be achieved by physicochemical adjustments, antibiotics, bacteriophage, addition of microbes discovered and cultured in earlier stages, addition of facultative pathogens to observe changes in microbiome and also manipulation of the nutrient environment. One of the main objectives is to find alternative approach to antibiotics. If successful, the methods used in hypothesis driven experimental work will be taken into field situations and tested in the hatchery environment. The practical work will be conducted in collaboration with commercial bivalve Hatcheries located in the UK (namely Guernsey Sea Farms) and samples will be analysed using high-throughput sequencing, bacterial culture methods and with bioinformatics and data-driven analysis. Training will be provided for all of these techniques by world-leading experts but students with some experience in the above are especially encouraged to apply. This project is a CASE studentship and fits within BBSRC theme of Bioscience for Sustainable Agriculture and Food, specifically under the aquaculture strategy. In addition this project covers the Cefas animal and human health theme of the Cefas Science & Evidence Strategy (2019-2025) in the context of moving from single pathogen-single disease to ‘pathobiome’ paradigms and strategies to reduce anti-microbial resistance pressure.

All candidates should have or expect to have a minimum of an appropriate upper 2nd class degree. To qualify for full funding students must be UK or EU citizens who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to commencement.

Funding Notes

Completed application form along with your supporting documents should be sent to our PGR student team at

Please send the reference request form to two referees. Completed forms for University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute project should be returned to by the closing date: 5th January 2020.

It is your responsibility to ensure that references are provided by the specified deadline.
Download application and reference forms via:
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