PhD Studentship: Sound and Vision Technology, and AI for Improved Prawn Aquaculture

MASTS (Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland) is keen to secure a suitable student for this excellent PhD opportunity as soon as possible.

Anyone interested in this should contact Dr Mark James this week (w/c 13 April). Below are more details of the project:

“Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) offer exciting potential for revolutionising protein production, and could underpin food security. Understanding the behaviour of cultured animals is key to optimising production, assisting with best husbandry practise and maximising welfare. We will apply new video and acoustic technological approaches, and data analysis using AI methods and computer vision, to improve understanding of cultured White Leg Prawns.

“We will use stereo videography to observe 3D swimming activity of prawns in tanks, and document aspects of group behaviour including nearest neighbour analysis, for example as has been done for Antarctic krill (Murphy et al. 2019). This will inform optimisation of aquaculture stocking densities. We will record the underwater soundscape in tanks and look for correlations with behaviour and time since feeding. There is a growing awareness of the importance of sound to crustaceans, that have not traditionally been thought of as ‘vocal’ animals (Coquereau et al. 2016): it may be possible to move towards on-demand feeding if there are auditory cues to hunger.

“The video and acoustic sampling will deliver very large volumes of data. We will explore application of cutting-edge computer vision and AI techniques to extract patterns from data and maximise the inferences that can be made from the behavioural observations. Computer vision technologies have a great deal to offer aquaculture (Zion, 2012). All data together may lead to development of improved methods for RAS cultivation, that in turn will deliver higher yields from more efficient, high-welfare aquaculture for a greener bioeconomy. The project will provide training across of suite of biological disciplines, and leave the student well equipped for a career in research, aquaculture or big data.”


  • Coquereau, L. et al. (2016). Acoustic behaviours of large crustaceans in NE Atlantic coastal habitats. Aquatic Biology, 25: 151
  • Murphy, D. et al. (2019). Three dimensional spatial structure of Antarctic krill schools in the laboratory. Scientific Reports, 9: 381
  • Zion, B. (2012). The use of computer vision technologies in aquaculture – a review. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 88: 125.