Daniel Roberts, ‘19, has always been interested in the environment and animals.

“The classes and professors I had during my first year at the Mount made me want to continue into the biology field.”

He earned his bachelor’s in biology at the Mount and continued on to the University of Tasmania in Australia. Currently, Dan is working towards his Master’s in Marine and Antarctic Science with a specialization in aquaculture.

“The program is one year of coursework and then one year dedicated to a research project.”

Dan completed his coursework in 2020, and is now working on his project and writing his thesis.

His project focuses on sustainable feeding techniques for carnivorous fish.

“I am conducting a research project on barramundi nutrition, specifically ‘measuring the nutrient digestibility and growth in juvenile barramundi fed feeds containing commercial and encapsulated phytase at two phytate levels,’” Dan said. “Which means using different applications of an enzyme into feed pellets to make plant ingredients more digestible for carnivorous fish.”

Daniel took on this research project because he wanted to find a project which allowed him a responsibility in managing the project as well as being able to put a lot of input in regards to how the project was conducted. Through the help of his advisor, has put a lot of work into the research project as well as having a large part in how the experiment was designed and managed.

“I did daily feeding and maintenance work on the system to maintain good water quality for the fish, which took up most of my time during the experiment. This research is important for further development of plant-based feeds that can provide a similar nutrient amount to traditional fish-based feeds. Using plant ingredients in feeds is a sustainable way for the industry to improve growth rates to keep up with market demand.”

Daniel wanted to challenge himself by pushing himself further in his education and found the University of Tasmania to be compelling for him in many different ways.

He said, “I knew I wanted to challenge myself by completing a master’s degree. I was interested in aquaculture after visiting a sea cage operation that contained southern bluefin tuna. I chose the University of Tasmania for their history in aquaculture and the program.”

After graduating from the University of Tasmania, Daniel will be staying as an on-call tech at the University Aquaculture Center, but may also continue his education through a PhD program or even taking on a new role in another feed trial technician job.

Daniel encourages Mounties to take on larger roles in research projects for all of the experience that comes in those new roles.

“If you can be involved in the planning and design stage of a research project, I highly recommend it,” he said. “It has given me an insight into the administrative side of research that I might have missed out on if I had been involved in other established/ongoing projects.”