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    Ichthyology, Aquaculture
    and Fish Diseases

    The sea has always been a source of high quality food for humans originating from fishing and according to many scientists, this high quality food contributed positively to the evolution of the human brain. Unfortunately, through the ages, the intensification of fishing methods, the intensification of human activities and climatic change have led to reduction of wild fish stocks, habitat destruction, marine pollution and ecosystem alterations.

    Globally, as a result of the above, a reduction of the quantity of fish from fishing and a continuous increase of aquaculture products is observed. In parallel, the earth's population is continuously growing along with the demand for more food originating from the sea. The production of food originating from animals either from the land or the internal waters has reached maximum capabilities with no further ability of growth. To cover this ever growing gap of food demand we need to direct our efforts to the sea, since it is the least exploited resource of our planet in respect to food production.



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    The aquaculture sector is the fastest growing food producing sector globally. It grows by 8.8% each year since the 50's and today contributes 50% of the globally consumed fish and fish products (FAO, 2008). It is estimated that by 2030, aquaculture production will cover the remaining 50% that originates from fisheries (FAO, 2004).

    Aquaculture production has to be practiced in a responsible manner in respect to environmental impacts and since it is still depends on natural production to find primary materials for the production of fish feeds, has to be operated in a sustainable manner. The organization of aquaculture activities in Locations of Organized Aquaculture Development is a recent tool that reduces the conflict of use of coastal areas for other human activities and permits a more holistic management approach, environmental, ecological and productive.

    Main focuses in this research working group are ichthyology, as a tool for the scientist to receive an insight of fish as organisms in a systematic, classification, functional and behavioral manner, aquaculture, providing updated research subjects on various aspects of the culture of marine organisms and fish diseases, being a key important aspect of intensively cultivated organisms.



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    Ichthyology

    The fishes are the most numerous and diverse of the vertebrate groups and through an amazing variety of behavioural, morphological and physiological adaptations they dominate the aquatic systems of the world. The study of fish extend beyond traditional areas, such as distributional, anatomical and systematic studies, to examine ways in order to improve and manage fisheries or aquaculture operations, to use fish as models in order to test ideas/theories in ecology, evolution, behaviour and physiology. Furthermore the fish are used as models in medical research and as indicators in order and to determine the effects of human activities on aquatic environments. Research of our team, in under- and postgraduate level (M.Sc. and PhD) is focused on feeding and reproductive behaviour of the fish and their functional morphology, fisheries, fish ethology, investigation of fish fauna diversity, length-weight relationships, age and growth studies, fish invasions, discriminations of fish populations and parasites of fishes, to name some of them.


    Aquaculture

    The cultivation of marine productive animals, such as fish, cephalopods, bivalve molluscs, etc., represents an important primary activity of our country requiring scientific support in many areas such as fish husbandry, animal selection, breeding, nutrition and feeding, the final product offered to the consumer and many more. Research of our team, in under- and post-graduate level (M.Sc. and PhD) is focused on fish reproduction, fish nutrition and feeding, and final product, such as development of methods for the detection of histamine in fish and fish products, changes that occur on the organoleptic characteristics and the components of fish flesh after freezing, health and safety of fish and fish products, the effect of the reduction of feeding ratio on feed utilization and production cost, improvement of the formula for the calculation of feeding ratio and the prediction of growth for cultivated fish, new species cultivation (octopus), the effect of commercial feeds on the quality of fish eggs, recycling of organic matter by organisms that can be used in fish feeds, production of algae and incorporation in fish feeds as growth promoters, to name some of them.


    Fish Diseases

    Diseases of cultivated fish represent a discrete and important research field and concerns the epidemiology of diseases for the cultivated fish, the analysis of pathogenic microorganisms, the production of vaccines and the study of the protection conferred against infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. Research of our team, in both under- and post-graduate level (M.Sc. and PhD), relates more specifically to the production of experimental vaccines for fish diseases and the investigation of the protection conferred to vaccinated fish in comparison to commercially available vaccines, comparison of the protection conferred after various routes of vaccine administration, investigation of the protection conferred by new commercial vaccines applied in large scale in the field, development of methods for experimental infections, development-improvement and standardization of immunological assays (ELISA) for the detection-identification and quantitation of antigens of pathogens and measurement of specific immune responses in vaccinated fish, utilization of histochemistry for the investigation of the response of marine animals to the infection with pathogens, histochemical and immunohistochemical analysis of the infection of marine animals from bacteria and viruses, analysis of microorganisms with electrophoresis and antigenic analyses by Western blot, to name some of them.