Woman in white coat using aquaculture equipment

Pioneering aquaculture

We are a global leader in aquaculture research and teaching, supporting the development of aquaculture worldwide.

Our world-class researchers pioneer aquaculture as a solution to the challenges of feeding a growing global population. We’re driven by our belief in aquaculture helping to create a world without hunger.

Our expert staff, facilities and networks – including the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre hosted at Stirling – make us the first choice for research partners from across the globe.

We attract funding for our work from a wide range of sponsors, including the Scottish Funding Council, UK Research Councils, UK Government departments, the European Union, national and international research organisations, foundations, trusts and industry.

We have collaborative research and training partnerships and links with many other leading academic institutions, and industry partners throughout Europe and overseas. We also offer a long-established and successful research service to support the development of new technology.

Our areas of research

  • Aquaculture health and welfare
  • Aquaculture nutrition
  • Sustainable aquaculture
  • Marine biology and ecosystems
  • Fish health and biotechnology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Fish parasitology
  • Social and economic impacts
  • Production systems
  • Genetics
Queens Anniversary Prize promo image

University of Stirling wins the UK’s highest academic honour

Institute of Aquaculture scoops the Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

Queen's Anniversary Prize

Our research goals

Our research explores fundamental questions to provide insights and solutions towards solving the global challenges that go hand-in-hand with feeding the world in a sustainable manner.

Our work focuses on research regarding:

  • Global Food Security
  • Changing Global Environments (Mitigating and Adapting)
  • Resilience to Change (Social, Economic and Environmental)

Our research addresses the needs of individual animals and whole populations, as well as provides the knowledge base for the wider system impacts on the physical environments.

Aquaculture staff at work in facilities


We research aquatic animal health, focusing on emerging aquatic infectious diseases including virology and bacteriology; immunology and vaccinology; and parasitology.

We have strong expertise in aquatic animal epidemiology and welfare at the population level. We aim to improve our understanding of major pathogens, fish immune responses and how to reduce stressors in culture systems.


We work with partners to develop new fish feeds that utilise alternative oil and protein sources as replacements for traditional fish oils and meals. This work meets the health needs of consumers in terms of quality, nutritional composition, contamination, sustainability and traceability.

We work on fish as principal sources of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which play key roles in human nutrition for the development of the nervous system – and also in the prevention and therapy of various pathological conditions, including cardiovascular and inflammatory disorders.

Welfare and behaviour

Good animal health and welfare underpins research excellence and successful sustainable aquaculture across the globe. We investigate the health and welfare of farmed and wild caught species – from individual to population.

We use a multi-disciplinary approach, from epidemiology and modelling at the population level to the behavioural, physiological and molecular regulation underpinning individual adaptation to environmental challenge.

Our collaborative activities with stakeholders and regulators aim to develop best management practices, from high level strategy to on farm tools for daily husbandry.

Breeding and genetic improvement

We focus on the development and application of the latest genetic and genomic techniques to improve broodstock management, welfare and performance in established and new farmed aquatic animals.

We work on the control, of reproduction, sterility, selective breeding, mechanisms of sex differentiation and gender control which result in the production of fish as a controllable and sustainable resource.

We combine the use of molecular biology and genomics, with whole animal studies of physiology and function, with strong impact on the global industry.

Salmon in sea

Aquaculture Systems

We work with our international partners in the study of environmental management to inform strategies for developmental impact and global aquatic food security. This includes environmental and social modelling, carrying capacity, spatial analysis and biodiversity.