PhD knowledge proving essential to Cornish business

Charlie_EllisAn ex-employee of The National Lobster Hatchery, now PhD researcher with the University of Exeter, Charlie Ellis is working to better understand sustainability in the Cornwall lobster fishery.

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The PhD project, which is funded by the European Social Fund, involves carrying out a lobster population genetic study, assessing the extent of variation in microsatellite DNA markers across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Dominic Boothroyd, General Manager at the National Lobster Hatchery, explained: “As demand for seafood increases globally, more pressure will be exerted on populations of highly prized species. Understanding how to stock and re-stock fisheries is going to become increasingly important globally and will be crucial to regions like the south west, which rely so much on the seafood industry.”

Charlie is currently surveying DNA markers in wild lobsters, which will indicate the levels of genetic variation in the population and whether these markers can be used to identify hatchery-released lobsters in the wild.

Charlie said: “While the findings of this work are aimed at the National Lobster Hatchery, they could also be very valuable to regional fishery managers and other hatcheries looking to enhance populations of marine crustaceans. I am hugely interested in the creation of sustainable fisheries so the opportunity to carry out this important research is really exciting.” 

Dom added: “This project is of great importance to the hatchery’s work; it will establish the techniques and protocols required for stocking the Cornish fishery in future years.”

Charlie’s PhD project is part of the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) Research Programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund and includes the delivery of a number of PhDs – each a collaborative project, involving at least two of the CUC partner institutions and a Cornwall-based business.

The Cornwall Campus is shared and jointly managed by the University of Exeter and Falmouth University in an arrangement that is unique to the UK.

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