Environment Research Group

The Environment Research Group brings together experts working on biological, ecological, social, and technological aspects of aquaculture research, transcending disciplines to address real-world multifactorial issues that industry, regulators, and other stakeholders face.

We investigate the broader concepts of sustainable aquaculture and its role in food security, as well as its transition to a more circular economy, under an uncertain future of climate change. Our research is organised around two aquaculture related themes: Environmental interactions & resilience, and Governance & Society.

Tow men on a boat feeding fish

Environmental interactions and resilience

Our research in environmental interactions focusses on ecosystem sustainability at all scales from farm to global. We explore the ability of the environment to sustain aquaculture and the environmental effects due to aquaculture. Key to this is our research on carrying capacity and its interactions between environment, production and society, and the impacts of climate change on production of both fish and shellfish. Environment also has a major influence on fish behaviour and consequent welfare, which is an important aspect of the research within the group.

Governance and Society

Our research analyses international trade and value chains from a variety of perspectives including the competitiveness of those involved and impacts on sustainability and poverty. Private sector governance and licensing is important in global trade but are evolving to meet new opportunities and realities for aquaculture. We investigate landscape and value chain approaches that incorporate local perspectives to ensure safe, traceable food for improved acceptability of standards in Low- and Medium-Income Countries where most fish production and consumption occurs. This theme integrates closely with environmental resilience as assessments of environmental and social carrying capacity are integral to good governance.

Key research group activities

All the Group’s research has a global reach with projects in Europe, Latin American, Southeast Asia, and China, where aquaculture is established, and in Africa, where demand for aquaculture is rising rapidly. Strategic partnerships formed with NGOs, regulatory bodies, civic society, national- and worldwide industries have co-created research with impact to provide nutritious aquatic food in developing and developed countries.

Recent and ongoing research includes four EU H2020 projects investigating sustainability of a new and more intensive aquaculture landscape through improved governance, and licensing methods, and to address current and future challenges related to competition in the market, sustainability, disease in aquaculture systems and governance.

Recent or current projects

Research team

Prof Trevor Telfer (Lead)

Prof Dave Little

Associate Professor Sonia Rey Planellas

Dr Susan Fitzer (Research Fellow)

Dr Richard Newton (Research Fellow)


Dr Lynne Falconer (Research Fellow)

Dr Stephanie Horn (Research Fellow)

Dr Wesley Malcorps (Research Fellow)

PhD students 

Alexandra Bulgakova

Karl Cutajar

Jessica Di Toro

Arsenio Hilinganye

Bjorn Kok

Reed Ozretich

Alexandra Pounds