Portuguese scientist Marta Carvalho, affiliated with the Aquaculture Research Group at the ECOAQUA Institute, has received another prestigious accolade for her work. Earlier in January 2023, she was honored with the Extraordinary Award for the Best Doctoral Thesis in the field of Sciences by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Now, Marta Carvalho's doctoral thesis, conducted at the ECOAQUA Institute and attaining a cum laude distinction at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), has been recognized as the best doctoral thesis of 2023 by the Spanish Aquaculture Society (SEA).
Titled "Innovative Feeds Utilizing New Omega-3 Sources to Enhance Mediterranean Fish Production," Carvalho's research highlights the potential of microalgae as a substitute or supplement for conventional marine ingredients in the aquaculture feed for species like sea bream and meagre. Her findings suggest a future where these fish can be sustainably raised without relying heavily on marine extracts.
This groundbreaking research was conducted under the auspices of the Aquaculture Research Group (GIA) at ULPGC and was supervised by Professor Marisol Izquierdo, Vice Rector for Research and Transfer at ULPGC, and Professor Daniel Montero. It was carried out as part of the PerformFish project, which received funding from the European Union's H2020 program and involved collaboration with the University Institute for Research in Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (ECOAQUA).
Photo of Marta Carvalho in the IU-ECOAQUA laboratory
In this year's edition, the SEA received a total of 8 submissions from throughout 2022, and Carvalho's work stood out for its exceptional quality. It had been published in prestigious scientific journals within its respective category, received multiple recommendations, and showed significant potential for practical application, posing a challenge for the selection committee.
The SEA award presented to Marta Carvalho includes a monetary prize of 750 euros and a complimentary registration for the XIX National Aquaculture Congress, scheduled to take place in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in spring 2024.
Over the past five years, ULPGC has received this award on three occasions, with Álvaro Fernández winning in 2020 for his work on the "Effects of the Neobenedenia girellae parasite on the skin of lemon fish (Seriola dumerili) and the use of potential functional diets to reduce its incidence," and David Domínguez in 2019 for his enhanced understanding of antioxidant minerals in alternative diets for gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata), a prominent fish species in Mediterranean aquaculture.
Marta Carvalho's Remarkable Journey
Marta Carvalho completed her undergraduate and master's degrees at the University of Porto in her hometown. During her final year of her master's program, she conducted experimental research for her dissertation at IU-ECOAQUA at ULPGC, under the guidance of Professor Marisol Izquierdo. Subsequently, in 2017-2018, she enrolled in the ACUISEMAR PhD program, supervised by Professor Marisol Izquierdo and Professor Daniel Montero.
In April 2018, Carvalho was granted two PhD scholarships, one from the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation and the other from the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation, and Information Society (ACIISI). She ultimately chose to continue her studies with the latter.
Photo of Marta Carvalho receiving the Extraordinary Award for the Best Doctoral Thesis of the ULPGC in the branch of Sciences, this January, with the rector of the ULPGC, Lluís Serra, the vice-rector of Research, Marisol Izquierdo, and the Professor Daniel Montero (to her left)
In 2021, Marta Carvalho received one of the 'Women in Aquaculture' scholarships, a distinction awarded to only two scientists annually by the Nordic company Kvarøy Arctic. This scholarship aims to promote the presence and contributions of women in the aquaculture sector on a global scale.
In January 2023, ULPGC further recognized her work by awarding her the Extraordinary Award for the Best Doctoral Thesis in the field of Sciences within the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
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