Making Waves at Home and Abroad
For Lindsey Gillard, an MSc (Agriculture) student at the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture, aquaculture research has allowed her to do just that.
Lindsey started her undergraduate degree at Memorial University, but after struggling to find her passion, she returned to Nova Scotia. After spending some time working in the seafood market and dealing with negative attitudes toward aquaculture, she realized she wanted to take her passion for aquaculture to another level.
That’s where Lindsey’s journey first intersected with Dal. She finished her undergraduate degree in Marine Biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, but a field trip to the Faculty of Agriculture’s Aquaculture Center during her degree made her think about the AC as a possibility.
After a few years of working as a teaching assistant at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and a few twists of fate, Lindsey found her way to the AC as a graduate student.
“I’ve always pictured a triangle of society, science and the aquaculture industry,” explained Lindsey. “I wanted to address the benefits and advantages of aquaculture to society, based on scientific research, and involve the aquaculture industry in these discussions. I had this crazy notion that I could facilitate these connections.”
Lindsey’s aquaculture research with Drs. Sarah Stewart- Clark and Jim Duston has empowered her to stand up and speak out about the benefits and advantages of agriculture. It has also led her to exciting research on the other side of the world.
In December 2015, Lindsey left the country for the first time to travel to Eilat City, Israel. There, she worked in a hatchery for three weeks, investigating techniques to increase production and feed efficiency of sea bream, a finfish.
“Sea bream is an incredibly popular aqua species in Europe, with much of its production along the Mediterranean Sea. My research looks at how we can grow it better,” explained Lindsey. In particular, she’s looking at ways to increase the larval survival rate, potentially through dietary protein provision
Lindsey’s time in Israel was a unique experience that brought her face- to- face with inspirational aquaculture scientists and added an international perspective to her project.
“My Israeli committee members, Dr. Bill Koven and Dr. Amir Bitan, are based in Israel, and were incredible mentors and hosts,” said Lindsey. “I also built a strong partnership with Oriya Nixon, an aquaculture technician, who was a wealth of knowledge and with her help, I was able to successfully complete my experiments in Eilat.”
Lindsey’s work is part of newly- funded projects with Dr. Sarah Stewart- Clark and Dr. Jim Duston through the Schulich Ocean Studies Centre Initiative. The funding allows for collaboration between ocean researchers at Dalhousie University and the National Center for Mariculture in Eilat, Israel. Overall, the project aims to increase larval survival of striped bass and sea bream through better protein absorption at this early stage of life.
“Lindsey is an exceptional graduate student,” shared Dr. Stewart- Clark. “She has not allowed any obstacle to get in her way and is excelling at her research. I have no doubt that Lindsey has a bright future as a scientist and it is an honour to be part of that journey with her.”
Lindsey attends industry and academic conferences, and is actively involved with the Female Leaders in Academia (FLIA) group on campus. She recently presented her preliminary results at the annual Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia conference.
When asked why she is so keen about this research and determined to get involved with the industry, Lindsey immediately thinks of the greater community.
“Science is both the foundation and the future of our aquaculture industry,” Lindsey said. “I want to make Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada succeed.”
Although Lindsey’s research continues here on the Agricultural Campus, she is already planning her next trip to Israel.
“I’m homesick for a place that was never home,” said Lindsey. “The Israeli people were welcoming and friendly, and I can’t wait to go back.”
With projects like Lindsey’s impacting aquaculture both at home and abroad, and her determination to make a difference in the community, we know she’s making positive waves of change.