Bergen-Memorial exchange program offers opportunity

International student studies at MI


By Nadine Hunt

(October 1, 1998)

The Marine Institute's Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development shared studies with an international student this summer. Gyda Christophersen, a PhD student at the University of Bergen in Norway, had a unique training experience this summer as a participant in the Memorial/Bergen exchange program. She has been working closely with Cyr Couturier of the School of Fisheries and finished up her four-month visit at the end of September.

She has been completing studies on scallop larvae and "spat" (scallop seed) related to her PhD work in Norway on scallop-spat production. In Newfoundland she worked as part of a team headed by Mr. Couturier on a project dealing with one of the bottlenecks in scallop cultivation. The project is a component of a broader research and development program related to scallop culture involving aspects of seed production headed by Dr. Pat Dabinett, Biology, and aspects of growout, headed by Dr. Jay Parsons, Marine Institute.

The development of a scallop industry depends on successful transfer of larvae or spat from the hatchery to economically viable grow-out systems (nurseries), in order to ensure a stable supply of scallops to farmers.

Scallops tend to suffer high mortality in the early stages of life, and factors such as water temperature, salinity and food supply affect their survival and growth rate. One objective of her studies is to prepare the larvae to survive from a protected life indoors to the sea where they are exposed to natural conditions. Transfer to the sea as early as possible is both practical and economical since scallops rely on the natural food resources of the sea.

She will take her experience home with her this summer to further aid in her research and the continuing work of developing a scallop industry in Norway.

Ms. Christophersen said she was very pleased to study at the institute because of its excellent aquaculture facilities. She found many more studies and projects that concentrate on shellfish aquaculture at the Marine Institute than at home at the University of Bergen. She will take her experience home with her this summer to further aid in her research and the continuing work of developing a scallop industry in Norway.

The experience was the first time Ms. Christophersen visited Canada and she enjoyed her time in the province. She travelled around rural Newfoundland as part of her research, enjoying all the sights and meeting many new people. She said she was especially pleased to be here to enjoy the beautiful weather this summer.