GIA (Grupo de Investigación en Acuicultura) is a Joint Research Unit of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), with 30 years experience in fish aquaculture RTD, mainly nutrition, pathology, new species and genetics. One of its main achievements has been the clarification of the biological mechanisms involved in the regulation of the functioning of several tissues by means of dietary nutrients, using histological and immune-histological studies. Besides, GIA has developed physical tagging systems and selection schemes in sparid species and microarrays, and molecular markers for genealogies and health studies (microsatellites, TNF, IL11, GR, HSP70, HSP90, Δ5 and Δ6 desaturases).
ULPGC aquaculture infrastructure is located at the Marine Science & Technology Park (PCTM) which includes 3 installations:
- Warm Water Species Selection Unit (WWSSU), with a completely equipped laboratory of Molecular Biology and Quantitative Genetics techniques.
- Marine BioAssays Station (MBS), with three RAS and Fish Pathology, Anatomo-pathology and Microbiology Laboratories.
- Feed Ingredients and Additives Testing Unit (FITU), with labs for nutrition (GLCs, HPLCs and GLCs/HPLC-MS), analysis, feed production, digestibility and wet labs with computer controlled photoperiod and feeding for either larvae (including automated start feeding), juveniles or broodstock of marine fish species, both commercial or new species for aquaculture.
The infrastructure includes an ingredient processing laboratory, a feed production hall, two series of 15 digestibility tanks (200 and 500 litres) and three wet labs with 170 tanks of 100, 200, 500 and 1000 litres, as well as two lines for commercial scale testing, provided with computer controlled automatic, auto-demand or manual feeding and waste feed collectors (feed intake control), to test diets and ingredients for either larvae (including automated start feeding), juveniles or broodstock of marine fish species, both commercial or new species for aquaculture. Photoperiod control is also available in 100, 200 and 500 litres tanks. It also has access to a complete nutrition laboratory equipped with 3 GLCs, GC-MS, 3 HPLCs, Densitometer, Iatroscan, Khjeldahl, ovens, muffles, etc., where all lipid, protein, aminoacids, fatty acids, lipid classes, vitamins, pigments, toxines, dioxines, PCBs and certain minerals from ingredients, feeds, live preys, seaweeds, moluscs, fish, turtles and marine mammals are daily analysed. Several successful EU and national projects have been conducted in this facility which has been completely renewed one year ago allowing complete automatisation and control for research on larval, juvenile and broodstock nutrition including nutritional requirements determination, alternative nutrient sources search, development of feeding tables and feeding methods, etc. The facility is included in the Marine Scientific and Technological Park of the ULPGC and has access to other large aquaculture infrastructures and laboratories, such as in vitro cell studies.
Services currently offered by the infrastructure
The facility allows determination of ingredient and feed quality, as well as nutritional studies, in relation to growth, nutritional status, health, welfare and juvenile and flesh quality of fish and mollusc. Up to now the facility has been used in cooperation with researchers from more than 20 countries that came for student, post-doc or sabbatical stages. Besides, it has given service to more than a dozen of local, national and multi-national companies, working at present for 4 of them. There is a very high demand for the use of these facilities that cannot completely being covered by the present facilities and hence a new plant is being build that will be ready for the end of 2010. Two patents, commercial feed formulas for aquaculture species, several new ingredients for two pharmacological companies, more than 25 PhD thesis and 30 Master thesis, 9 EU projects and about 350 scientific papers have been produced in this facility.
Modality of access
One project is expected to comprise 15 tanks on average during twelve weeks. The duration will depend on the life cycle stage (from first feeding larvae to broodstock).
The access will comprise the use of tanks including maintenance, water supply, daily feeding and husbandry of fish; manipulation, and sampling of fish. Also access to all dry laboratory facilities and other infrastructure, logistical, technical and scientific support to external users is offered on request. Scientific support will include advice on experimental design and methodology, documentation of results for all experiments conducted during the project, and appropriate methods for sampling and conservation of samples.
Unit of Access
The unit of access is defined as 1 tank/week equalling the occupation of one standard tank for seven days.