HDR Confirmation Seminar: Courtney Lewis - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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HDR Confirmation Seminar: Courtney Lewis

We would like to invite you to attend the Confirmation Presentation of Courtney Lewis, Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the School of  Science, Technology and Engineering.

Thesis Title: 

A nutrigenomics approach to assess the nutritional needs of spiny lobsters


Aquaculture has been the fastest growing food production sector over the past decade, and it continues to experience faster growth than any other food production sector. Currently, the crustacean aquaculture sector is largely dominated by a few marine prawn species. As the demand for the production of crustaceans for human consumption increases, it is important that there is improved diversification of the species available for commercial aquaculture production. A major bottleneck for the industry is the lack of knowledge of the alimentary needs of decapod crustaceans.

The ornate spiny lobster, Panulirus ornatus, is a prime candidate for aquaculture due to its short larval phase and high commercial demand. This species has a complex life cycle; the oceanic larvae actively predates on zooplankton, followed by the post-larvae which doesn't consume any food while it travels to the benthic site, where it transforms into the juvenile which resumes eating again. This complex life cycle, which involves very different nutrient requirements at different life stages, is an ideal candidate to utilise a nutrigenomics approach to better understand nutrition in a key aquaculture species.

Currently, transcriptomic resources are available for 12 stages across metamorphosis and several adult and juvenile tissues of P. ornatus. To add to this database, my research will generate a transcriptome for 11 stages across embryogenesis of P. ornatus, building one of the most detailed transcriptomic resources for a decapod species. This database provides a basis for investigating the nutrition-regulating factors including digestive enzymes and cytochrome P450s across the life stages and tissues of P. ornatus. Gene expression fluctuations will be used to identify key genes in molecular pathways of decapods that can be manipulated for the benefit of the industry.  

We look forward to seeing you there!