The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Aquaculture Science Program provides scientific and technical advice across government, industry and the community. Our expertise includes the sustainable development and management of aquaculture in brackish, freshwater and marine environments.

Our work is crucial to the development of South Australia’s aquaculture industry.

Our research and development activity has focused on a range of aquatic organisms which are now farmed, including:

  • southern bluefin tuna
  • Pacific and native oysters
  • greenlip abalone
  • yellowtail kingfish
  • barramundi
  • microalgae
  • salmon
  • trout
  • mulloway
  • blue mussels
  • yabbies
  • marron.

The objectives of SARDI’s Aquaculture Science Program are to:

  • develop new aquaculture knowledge, species and sites
  • increase the competitive advantage of existing aquaculture industries
  • minimise risks for new and existing aquaculturists
  • provide education and training.

Professor Xiaoxu Li leads this program, which has 4 interacting subprograms:

  • Genetics, Reproduction, Biotechnology, Propagation and Systems
  • Nutrition and Feed Technology
  • Algal Production
  • Molecular Sciences.

Subprograms and research focus

Algal Production

The subprogram aims to provide its clients with concept design, laboratory testing, proof-of-concept scale trials and pilot commercial scale trials in:

  • microalgae
  • macroalgae (seaweeds).

We achieve this through in-house skills, collaborations and specialised infrastructure.

We also provide practical and cost effective algal production systems for:

  • aquaculture
  • bioenergy
  • biofixation of carbon
  • nutraceuticals
  • nutrient remediation.

Subprogram details:

Aquatic Animal Health and Welfare

This subprogram:

  • investigates disease issues and understands their epidemiology
  • develops sustainable solutions to disease issues and devises techniques to improve disease detection
  • develops and enhances biosecurity procedures to reduce risks
  • increases awareness of aquatic animal health issues through communication, education and training, in particular through providing scientific and technical advice to managers.

Subprogram details

Genetics, reproduction and biotechnology

This subprogram:

  • provides scientific and technical advice on issues associated with the economically and environmentally sustainable development of shellfish aquaculture
  • develops and evaluates new and existing techniques to enhance the efficiency and competitive advantage of aquaculture industries in an international market-place.

Subprogram details:

Nutrition and Feed Technology

This subprogram:

  • provides scientific and technical advice on the provision of nutritionally complete and cost effective diets for the optimum productivity, health and product quality of fish and shellfish
  • develops and evaluates existing and new technologies related to diet development and/or feeding strategy
  • provides emerging industries with the necessary diets, and established industry with technologies
  • addresses the aquaculture industry’s diet related productivity, product quality and marketing issues.

Subprogram details:

Propagation and Aquaculture Systems

This subprogram conducts research and development activities to support the expansion of aquaculture production, including research to:

  • propagate new species
  • improve hatchery rearing of marine finfish species
  • develop sustainable aquaculture production systems.


We collaborate with:

  • Industries:
    • Clean Seas Tuna
    • Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association
    • South Australian Oyster Growers Association
    • Australian Abalone Growers Association
    • South Australian Mussel Grower’s Association
    • AusBiotech.
  • Government agencies:
    • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
    • South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
    • Australian Department of Agriculture
    • Australian Department of Education
    • Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries
    • NSW Department of Primary Industries
    • CSIRO.
  • Local universities:
    • The University of Adelaide
    • Flinders University
    • The University of South Australia
    • The University of Sydney
    • The University of Melbourne.
  • International universities and research agencies:
    • Kinki University (Japan)
    • Dalian Ocean University (China)
    • China Ocean University
    • University of Idaho (USA)
    • Gothenburg University (Sweden)
    • University of Manitoba (Canada)
    • University of Freiburg (Germany)
    • Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Science.

View subprogram capability statements for full details about our collaborations.

Program leader

Prof Xiaoxu Li (PDF 380.5 KB)
Science Leader, Aquaculture
SARDI Aquatic Sciences

Phone: (08) 8429 0504
Fax: (08) 8207 5415
PO Box 120 Henley Beach SA 5022

Page Last Reviewed: 06 Feb 2015
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