Aaron Boyd

Background

Traditional fish feeds rely on fishmeal as their primary source of protein. This is problematic, as global demand for fish has continually increased while fishmeal production remains constant, limited by availability and regulations. Aquaculture research in recent years has been looking for alternate sources of protein to incorporate into fish feed in order to boost the global supply of farmed fish. This can be achieved in two ways: (1) increasing the total production of fish feed to allow aquaculture farms to support larger populations or (2) increased growth of individual fish through improved protein uptake rates. By conducting nutritional research in zebrafish (Danio rerio), researchers can apply knowledge from this field towards human nutrition as well.

Research statement

The main objective of my research is to explore the effects of differing protein sources on the growth of zebrafish. My research will be distributed over two aims: i) determining the minimum time to effect of changing dietary protein source on the growth rate of juvenile zebrafish and the overall effects on muscle morphology and function, and ii) studying the interactive effects of protein source, age and exercise on muscle growth and function. The endpoints for these aims will include whole body growth (gross biomass), strength via endurance and sprint performance, reflexes via c-startle response and respirometry to determine basal metabolic rates. Molecular and proteomic assays focused on muscular tissue may also be used to supplement the project.

Academic Training

MSc Candidate, University of Alberta
2018 –

BSc Ecology, University of Calgary
2013 – 2017