Brazilians study aquaculture at Memorial

Crossing borders

(October 21, 1999, Gazette)

By Aimee Pretty

You could say that Guilherme Rupp and Alberto Nunes from Brazil are big on scallops and shrimp. Mr. Rupp and Mr. Nunes are currently undertaking doctorate programs in biology at Memorial under the supervision of Dr. Jay Parsons at the Marine Institute.

Mr. Rupp arrived in St. John's two months ago on a scholarship from the Brazilian Research Council. For his doctorate program, he is researching the biology of scallops, particularly in the areas of growth and reproduction. He is concentrating on the ecology of a Brazilian native species that can grow 15 to 17 centimetres in length. He decided to specialize in this area because of the lack of research conducted to date.

"It is good to perform this research and to understand the biology of the scallops because of their great market potential," said Mr. Rupp.

Mr. Rupp will reside in St. John's for a year to develop the proposal for his thesis. He will then return to Brazil to conduct field research where he will be funded by CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency. Once the research is completed he will come back to St. John's to complete his thesis.

On a scholarship from CIDA, Mr. Nunes came to St. John's in 1993 to undertake his Masters in aquaculture at Memorial. Now funded by the federal Brazilian Ministry of Education, he is completing his doctorate in biology with a specialization in shrimp farming. For his thesis, Mr. Nunes has concentrated on the feeding of native shrimp in the northeastern coast of Brazil, where 95 percent of Brazil's fish farming occurs.

"Feeding has a great impact on the environmental aspects of shrimp farming," said Mr. Nunes. "Farmers tend to over feed and this puts pressure on the coastal areas. Feeding also comprises about 50 per cent of the operating costs of a commercial operation."