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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Friday, 19 January 2024
Academic background
Host campus
Associate Professor Mark Lokman, Dr Simon Nicol (Pacific Community), Dr Jess Farley (CSIRO Australia)


The fisheries of the western and central Pacific Ocean are the largest globally for tuna. They are also currently fished within their biologically sustainable limits. The revenue derived from these fisheries are critically important to the economies of many Pacific Island Nations. The equatorial regions where yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) predominate are undergoing rapid environment change due to the impacts of climate change – these, in turn, conceivably affect the reproductive biology of yellowfin tuna. Understanding of these effects is necessary for population dynamics models to evaluate potential impacts.

Moreover, investigations into the reproductive biology of yellowfin tuna have not previously been undertaken at a whole-of-stock scale or in the recent past. Information from the South Pacific is scant – this paucity of information can be addressed by applying histological and molecular methods.

This project seeks for a suitable PhD candidate to explore and combine:

  • Traditional histological approaches to describing the reproductive biology of yellowfin tuna at a stock-wide scale and understand the influences of environmental and fishing variables on the spatial and temporal variability observed. This would draw on the extensive collection of reproductive tissue currently curated in the Pacific Marine Specimen Bank.
  • “Blue-sky” genomic and molecular endocrinology research to identify alternate and reliable molecular indicators/indices of reproductive status.


Contact name
Mark Lokman
+ 64 27 429 9329
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