A - the study of marine biodiversity and ecosystems, integrating research to provide a sound scientific basis for assessment, management and policy related with marine ecosystems. This includes:
• Characterizing the composition, abundance and distribution of the national marine biodiversity,
• Monitoring and studying coastal and estuarine ecosystem functioning, and long-term changes in marine communities and habitats to determine the impacts of climate change and local human action;
• Studying the genetics, population biology, ecology and recruitment of ecologically and commercially important species;
• Determining the impacts of fishing at different levels, from genetics to ecosystems;
• Investigating physiological adaptations of marine organisms
B. Environmental chemistry and toxicology
• Studying how does the chemical composition of a medium influence the responses of an organism in contact with it; and how do organisms affect the chemical composition of the surrounding medium?
C. Biology and Marine Biotechnologies
• Extending fundamental knowledge about marine organisms at a molecular to whole organism level and across the evolutionary scale.
• Establishing how natural and man made environmental challenges impact organismal function.
• Promoting the identification of potential “spin-offs” arising from basic biology and stimulate pilot studies and links with industry.
• Developing “near market” solutions, such as, genotyping for aquaculture species, molecular bar codes, diagnostic tests in pathology and biomarkers to monitor environmental pollution and as performance indicators.
• Promoting the identification and exploration of marine organisms of direct commercial interest or which produce biologically active compounds or biomaterials, with the long term aim of patenting and exploitation.
Aims to promote the generation of high quality scientific knowledge, through basic and applied research, to tackle some of the sustainability challenges facing the aquaculture industry. This includes as main strategic research areas:
• Biological assessment of the cultivation potential of new aquaculture species, for the: Establishment of sustainable culture practices to facilitate the industrialization process in areas of reproduction, farming and husbandry practices of selected new species.
• Fish Nutrition, which fostered: a) a better understanding of the nutritional modulation of intermediary metabolism, stress resistance and skeletal abnormalities in fish; b) estimation of nutritional requirements and optimal formulations for enhanced performance, improved quality of fish and lower environmental impact.
• Research on Fish Immunology & Health dealt with: a) a better understanding of host/pathogens interaction mechanisms; b) the establishment of immunostimulation strategies to enhance stress resistance and welfare of farmed fish.
D. Public education and outreach
• Actively encouraging and educate stake holders (scientists, policy makers, industry, teachers and the public) about the diversity, complexity and importance of marine ecosystem.
• Help in increasing public awareness about marine science.
• Training young scientists and to disseminate scientific knowledge and link with managers and policy makers to contribute to evidence based management and sustainability.