The researcher Marta Carvalho, from the Aquaculture Research Group (GIA) of the University Institute ECOAQUA, was awarded with the extraordinary award for her doctoral thesis in the field of Sciences at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Marta was awarded during the ceremony of investiture of the new doctors from ULPGC, that took place last January 28th in Las Palmas and was presided by the Rector of the ULPGC, Lluís Serra.
With this award, the ULPGC underlines the extraordinary value of Carvalho's doctoral thesis, focused on the use of microalgae as a source of omega-3 for aquaculture nutrition. The work certified the viability of replacing fish oils currently used in feed for farmed fish such as sea bream and meagre with microalgae oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The results of Marta’s PhD shows that microalgae inclusion in aquafeeds contributes to support fish performance and health, at the same time that supports the sustainability of aquafeed sector.
Photo 1.- The Vice Chancellor for Research and Transfer of the ULPGC, Marisol Izquierdo, the researcher Marta Carvalho, and the Rector of the ULPGC Lluís Serra. Photo 2.- Dr. David Domínguez, researcher Marta Carvalho, the Vice Chancellor of Research and Transfer of the ULPGC, Marisol Izquierdo, and Professor Daniel Montero of the University Institute ECOAQUA.
Carvalho got an outstanding cum laude in May 2022 for defending this thesis, entitled 'Innovative feeds based on novel omega-3 sources to improve the production of Mediterranean fish', where she worked with a commercial feed formulations for sea bream and meagre , that are fish oil-free and where fish meal is also greatly reduced.
Marta Carvalho's research showed how fish growth and health were not affected by the use of microalgae-supplemented feeds, as well as it induced an increase in EPA+DHA contents, the most important omega-3 fatty acids for human health. According to the author of the thesis, which was supervised by Professor Marisol Izquierdo and Professor Daniel Montero, these feeds enrich the nutritional level of the final fish products and might be more sustainable and ocean-friendly.
The overexploitation of the oceans has been causing a reduction in fish natural populations used for the production of fish meal and oil, which ends up being used for aquaculture, so the emergence of sustainable alternative raw materials for aquafeeds is a very important step forward for the sector.
The doctor Marta Carvalho in the laboratories of the University Institute ECOAQUA of the ULPGC.
Marta Carvalho has a graduate and master's degree from the University of Porto. She carried out the experimental research of her masterthesis at the University Institute ECOAQUA of the ULPGC funded by an ERASMUS+ grant. In 2017-2018 she started the PhD program at ACUISEMAR, under the supervision of Professors Marisol Izquierdo and Daniel Montero. In 2018, she won a PhD grant from the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society. In 2021, she was awarded one of the Kvarøy Arctic 'Women in aquaculture' grants, in recognition of her scientific work and contribution to the aquaculture sector.
In addition, the studies of her PhD thesis won the second prize in the category of graduate, postgraduate or thesis projects in the V Telefónica Chair Competition from the ULPGC, which demonstrates its relevance and impact on the academic community.