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StFX MSC Student Working On Aquaculture Issues

Research work into solutions to combat biofouling – when an organism attaches to a submerged surface – has helped net a StFX master’s biology student a $42,000 NSERC Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship.

Natalia Filip, who is part of StFX’s Centre for Biofouling Research, will receive $21,000 a year over the next two years. The Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia and the PEI Aquaculture Alliance are also funding the scholarship.

“We’re trying to develop new coatings or surfaces that can prevent fouling by sea squirts,” Ms. Filip says. “We’re targeting sea squirts because they’re a big player here.”

In particular, StFX researchers are looking at the invasive sea squirt Ciona intestinalis, a major fouling organism around the world.  In local waters, they have established themselves as the primary fouling organism on mussel farms and are being carefully monitored by DFO.

As part of her research, Ms. Filip, who is supervised by biology professor Dr. Russell Wyeth, is testing current technologies at three field sites to see how existing coatings work in local waters.