AZTI-Tecnalia uses biotechnology to solve research questions related to achieving a sustainable management and valorisation of the oceans. We collaborate closely with experts in fisheries management, environmental management, aquaculture and bioprospecting.

Biotechnology (genetic markers, population genomics, metagenetics, transcriptomics, metagenomics…) can be used in different fields, including:

  • Species identification: to identify species when morphology has limitations (e.g. fish eggs, fish larvae) or to identify shellfish species in the larval stage colonising offshore aquaculture structures.
  • Age determination: We explore alternatives to the sometimes ambiguous otolith reading based on genetic methods (e.g. telomere shortening) to determine the age of commercial fish.
  • Sex determination: We are looking for the sex determination gene(s) in several commercial fish. In addition, we are exploring alternatives to the traditional gonad dissection method based on sexual maturity measurement to determine the sexual maturity stage of commercial fish.
  • Stock delimitation: We use population genomics to determine if current fish stock boundaries correlate with genetic population structure.
  • Food chain structure: We analyse fish stomach contents in order to identify predator-prey interactions.
  • Biodiversity evaluation in environmental samples.
  • Evaluation of metabolic diversityin environmental samples.
  • Biomonitoring.
  • Invasive species: We determine their origin and introduction pathways.
  • Connectivityin protected areas regarding population structure and biodiversity, respectively.
  • Ecotoxicology: We determine the effects of toxic components in the expression patterns of several organisms.
  • Genetic improvement: We identify markers associated to a given phenotype (e.g. resistance to high temperature).
  • Diet suitability.
  • Search for new genes/products in samples coming from extreme environments (e.g. deep ocean) or industrially relevant surfaces (e.g. submerged surfaces to understand biofouling formation).
  • Search for new organisms in samples coming from extreme environments.