Professor Dean Jerry (PhD, GAICD) is a Professor in Aquaculture and the Director of the ARC Research Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding, ARC Research Hub for Supercharging Tropical Aquaculture Through Genetic Solutions and the Tropical Futures InstituteJCU Singapore. He is also the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Science and Engineering. 

Professor Jerry is globally known for his work in aquaculture, with his primary area of research focus and expertise in the application of genetic technologies to the improvement of farmed aquatic species.  He has worked with over 12 aquaculture species over the last 18 years and over this time has built a large internationally recognised research team which has been instrumental in the development of genetic tools and knowledge to inform selective breeding programs for numerous tropical farmed species. He recently has also built a team in the area of aquatic animal health and established a pathogen testing facility at JCU. Prof Jerry has acquired $41+ million of external funding, the majority linked to industry co-funded projects, and published 160+ scientific articles in the area of aquaculture and genetics.

As a strong advocate for the role aquaculture will play in securing humanity's future protein needs, Prof Jerry is always interested in hearing from companies and stakeholders who are seeking to conduct R&D leading to improved efficiencies in aquaculture production. He works with all types of companies from SMEs through to multi-national agribusinesses, as well as government.

Prof Jerry is also pioneering the application of environmental DNA technologies to the detection of rare and invasive aquatic organisms in Australia, and in detection of aquaculture pathogens.

Current and recent research projects with industry 

Supercharging tropical aquaculture through genetic solutions, ARC Industrial Transformation Research Program (partners Cygnet Bay Pearls, Mainstream Aquaculture Group, Seafarms Group, The Company One, Seaforest, Australian Genome Research Facility, University of Queensland)

Striking gold - Determining the genetics of gold skin colour in barramundi, ARC Linkage Scheme

Pearls of wisdom - breeding for increased tolerance to juvenile pearl oyster mortality syndrome, CRC-P for Northern Australia (industry partners Cygnet Bay Pearls, Clipper Pearls)

Northern Australia Aquaculture Situational Analysis, CRC for Developing Northern Australia (partners Aust Prawn Farmers Assoc, Aust Barramundi Farmers Assoc, Blueshift Consulting, CSIRO)

Biosecurity in northern Australia prawn aquaculture, CRC for Developing Northern Australia (partners Aust Prawn Farmers Assoc)

Testing established methods of early prediction in abalone broodstock, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (partner Aust Abalone Growers Association)

Rapid iteration selective breeding : Australia's fish to feed the world, CRC-P (lead Mainstream Aquaculture)

Breeding for scale drop resistance in barramundi Lates calcarifer - Understanding the genetic architecture of resistance, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore Productivity Fund (partner Barramundi Asia)

Latest Book - Biology and Culture of Asian seabass Lates calcariferCRC Press


Areas of interest for prospective graduate students

Genomics and selective breeding of aquaculture species

Genetic audits of aquaculture species

Enviornmental DNA to detect pathogens


Recent media

This is Uni: Our food future

Supercharging northern Australian aquaculture

Can aquaculture solve the Seaspiracy

The Role of aquaculture in helping feed the world 

Old school breeding and high-tech genomics to boost prawn and barramundi production 

Unleashing the genetic potential of the black tiger prawn

Detecting tilapia using eDNA



  • AQ2002: Aquaculture of Tropical Species (Level 2; TSV)
  • AQ3003: Aquaculture: Propagation (Level 3; TSV)
  • AQ3004: Aquaculture: Stock Improvement (Level 3; TSV)
  • AQ5003: Aquaculture: Propagation (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5009: Aquaculture of Tropical Species (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB1110: Introductory Marine Science (Level 1; TSV)
  • aquaculture, aquaculture genetics, genetic improvement of aquaculture animals, barramundi, Lates calcarifer, Pearl oyster, genomics, conservation genetics of fish, eDNA
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2020 - James Cook University team citation for “Enhancing career and learning outcomes for students in aquaculture through an industry-led and technology integrated teaching approach.
  • 2019 - Excellence in Leadership, James Cook University
  • 2017 - Excellence in Promoting Industry Engagement in Graduate Research, James Cook University
  • 2015 - Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University
  • 2000 - Science and Innovation Award for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australia

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 196+ research outputs authored by Prof Dean Jerry from 2001 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Research Council - Early Career Industry Fellowships

Novel reproductive approaches to de-risk and transform barramundi breeding

Indicative Funding
$475,215 over 3 years, in partnership with Mainstream Aquaculture ($30,000)
Demand for Australian seafood outstrips supply. Farming of the iconic Australian barramundi is poised to play a major role addressing this shortfall; but innovative methods are needed to de-risk breeding processes and to provide precise control of maturation, spawning and genetic contribution of broodstock. This project, in partnership with the world?s largest barramundi breeding company, will develop, test and apply novel breeding methods to obtain tight control over barramundi reproductive development and spawning. By combining cutting edge genetic and applied breeding techniques, selective breeding programs will be more efficient and the genetic gains from breeding programs will be maximised.
Jarrod Guppy and Dean Jerry (Research Infrastructure and College of Science & Engineering)
Barramundi; Reproduction; Selective Breeding; Aquaculture; Genetics

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Breeding super black soldier flies for sustainable food production

Indicative Funding
$610,209 over 3 years, in partnership with FlyFarm ($225,000)
Industrialised farming of Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae has the remarkable potential to address critical sustainable food security and waste management issues. Despite the opportunities, there are several challenges around scale-up technologies the insect farming industry must overcome. This project aims to provide critical BSF selective breeding knowledge to enable the industrialised scale-up production of this commercially important BSF biomass resource from a variety of organic waste sources. This project will support the long-term growth and competitive advantage of the Australian insect industry, as well as promoting the benefits of a circular economy through bioconversion of organic waste into commercially viable products.
Kyall Zenger, Dean Jerry and Ron White (College of Science & Engineering)
Black Soldier Fly; Genetics; Animal Production; Breeding; Waste Management; Animal feed

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Industrial Transformation Research Hubs

ARC Research Hub for Supercharging Tropical Aquaculture Through Genetic Solutions

Indicative Funding
$4,996,503 over 4 years, in partnership with Australian Genome Research Facility ($150,000); Cygnet Bay Pearls PL ($500,000); Mainstream Aquaculture ($500,000); Sea Forest Pty Ltd ($500,000) and THE COMPANY ONE PTY LTD ($500,000)
This project aims to integrate cutting edge genetic and genomic approaches into innovative aquaculture enterprises that farm in tropical northern Australia. It will deliver the requisite genetic knowledge to instigate world-leading and highly productive breeding programs for five species (barramundi, pearl oyster, prawn, grouper and marine seaweed), along with a novel understanding of the genetic basis of disease resistance and how the production environment interfaces with the bacterial microbiome, pathogens and water quality to cause disease. It will increase Australia's capacity to deliver advanced genetics outcomes to the aquaculture sector, while increasing productivity, international competitiveness, and lowered risk due to disease.
Dean Jerry, Kyall Zenger, Benjamin Hayes, Rocky de Nys, David Bourne, Andreas Lopata, Ron White, Jan Strugnell, Chaoshu Zeng, Kelly Condon, Mostafa Rahimi Azghadi, Ira Cooke, Leo Nankervis and Carla Ewels (College of Science & Engineering, The University of Queensland, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Selective Breeding; Genomics; Aquaculture

Crawford Fund - Crawford-in-Queensland Student Awards

Incorporating genome editing into the aquaculture industry in Australia

Indicative Funding
$4,500 over 1 year
Professor Jehee Lee from Jeju International University, South Korea has agreed to allow me to visit his lab and receive extensive training in genome editing. He has successfully genetically edited numerous species of fish to optimise and select for commercial traits valuable to the aquaculture industry. Visiting with Professor Lee, as well as with other members of his lab, would allow me to gain the techniques and skills necessary to develop a general protocol applicable for a variety of aquaculture species.
Dean Jerry and Megan Moran (College of Science & Engineering)
Fish; Gene editing; Aquaculture; CRISPR; Traits; Selective breeding

Australian Government - Innovation Connections

Genetic audit of Harvest Road?s Akoya oyster (Pinctada fucata) broodstock and phenotypic assessment of existing cohorts relevant to the requirements of a selection program

Indicative Funding
$121,348 over 1 year, in partnership with Harvest Road Oceans ($71,348)
Harvest Road Oceans Pty Ltd wants to undertake a genetic audit of potential broodstock for use in a future selective breeding program for Akoya pearl oysters focusing primarily on oyster growth, shell depth and meat yield. Before such a program commences, it is vital to establish that the genetic diversity represented in the current broodstock population is sufficient to ensure long-term exploitation of genetic potential over subsequent generations of breeding. Therefore, this project aims to generate the preliminary data needed to undertake a genetic audit, estimate relatedness between animals from the current farm cohorts, generate genetic parameters and make recommendations on appropriate breeding scenarios for Harvest Road Oceans Pty Ltd.
Dave Jones and Dean Jerry (College of Science & Engineering)
Pinctada fucata (Pteriidae); Genetic Audit; Genetic parameters; Pearl oyster; Aquaculture

Australian Lions Foundation - Scientific and Medical Research on Marine Species Dangerous to Humans

Understanding population structures of Chironex fleckeri

Indicative Funding
$10,000 over 1 year
An understanding of population structures is fundamental to understanding threats, where do jellyfish come from and how far do they go? Our objective it to use mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to identify intraspecific phylogenetic relationships among local populations along the coast of Queensland. We will use this approach to study the gene flow and connectivity of local populations separated by 10s to 100s of kilometres and this will include multiple locations used by swimmers. Using this approach we will determine scales of connectivity.
Mike Kingsford and Dean Jerry (College of Science & Engineering)
Chironex fleckeri (Chirodropidae); Management; Population structure; Cubomedusae; Ecology; Connectivity

Food Agility CRC Limited - Scholarship

CRC Food Agility - Research Student Scholarship

Indicative Funding
$32,500 over 3 years
This project's outcomes will significantly benefit the industry by increasing our capacity to develop and apply the latest genetic methodologies and increase the efficiency and sustainability of aquaculture breeding programs. Furthermore, the development and robust optimization of genomic selection using commercial "real life" animal models with its well-developed resources will accelerate this methodology's uptake in related aquaculture industries.
Gopala krishna Guddanti, Kyall Zenger and Dean Jerry (College of Science & Engineering)
animal breeding; Aquaculture; genetics

CRC for Developing Northern Australia - Grant

Determining the impact of prawn viruses on production of P.monodon

Indicative Funding
$504,750 over 3 years (administered by CRC for Developing Northern Australia Scheme)
The project is assessing the impact of 3 specific prawn viruses on the survival, growth, FCR and immune status of farmed P.monodon under experimental disease transmission conditions. The research aims to produce purified viral extracts of IHHNV, GAV and Whenzhou Shrimp Virus-2. The impact of the viruses on prawn growth and health will be determined under varying routes of exposure and with differing environmental conditions using the purified viral extracts.
Kelly Condon and Dean Jerry (College of Science & Engineering)
Penaeus monodon; transcriptome; immunity; Virus; Disease transmission

Food Agility CRC Limited - Scholarship

Developing Deep Learning Applications for Smart Aquaculture

Indicative Funding
$30,000 over 3 years
This project proposes to use deep learning technology to extract various data in commercial environments in a non-intrusive and cost-effective way from fish farms. Currently, most of the fish data is analysed manually. The aim is to use deep learning to extract useful features and traits of fish and to analyse the collected data automatically and efficiently. The project will be in direct partnership with our industry collaborators across Australia and Asia.
Alzayat Saleh, Mostafa Rahimi Azghadi and Dean Jerry (College of Science & Engineering)
Wetlands; Digital Technology; Water Quality; Aquatic Weeds

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Infrastructure (L-IEF)

Single cell sequencing facility at James Cook University

Indicative Funding
$234,438 over 1 year
Single cell sequencing (SCS) is revolutionising the life sciences and is essential in enabling JCU to maintain its leadership position in aquaculture, coral reef studies and tropical health. SCS is a central component of ongoing projects at JCU, a number of which are supported by the ARC. The current state of SCS technology dictates that the cell sorting and library preparation component be done locally. At present, the closest such facility is located in Brisbane (1300 km from Townsville by road), which means that not only is life sciences research at JCU severely handicapped by the lack of access to the equipment requested here, but the same is true of all Australian institutions north of the 27th parallel (Brisbane)
David Miller, Denise Doolan, Dean Jerry, Jan Strugnell and David Whitmore (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and College of Science & Engineering)
aquaculture; Single cell sequencing; immunology; Coral Reefs; Transcriptomics; Microbiology

Department of Industry - Innovations Connections

Genetic audit of Cygnet Bay Pearls? Akoya oyster broodstock

Indicative Funding
$99,612 over 1 year
This Project will examine genetic diversity in Cygnet Bay?s current Akoya oyster breeding populations, design mating pairs for a spawning followed by analysis of the genetic diversity in the offspring.
Dean Jerry (College of Science & Engineering)
Pinctada fucata (Pteriidae); Genetic Diversity; Broodstock

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Striking Gold - Determining the genetic drivers of gold coloration in barramundi

Indicative Funding
$615,012 over 3 years, in partnership with Mainstream Aquaculture ($223,418)
Australian farmed barramundi exhibit ?greying? in the flesh which reduces consumer attractiveness. The rare colour variant ?golden skinned? barramundi do not exhibit this negative flesh attribute. This project will determine the underlying genetic basis of the golden skin phenotype & adopt experimental approaches to increases its occurrence.
Dean Jerry in collaboration with Paul Harrison and Holly Cate (College of Science & Engineering and Mainstream Aquaculture Pty Ltd)
Barramundi (Lates calcarifer); epigenetics; aquaculture; pigmentation; CRISPR/Cas9

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Using Environmental DNA (eDNA) as an early Detection and Monitoring Tool for Fish Ectoparisites Affecting Aquaculture in Southeast Asia (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Ulcerative skin disease in farmed king salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Development of Captive Breeding Techniques for the Striped Blenny Meiacanthus grammistes: A Popular Marine Ornamental Fish (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Epidemiology of 'Scale Drop Disease' in Farmed Lates Calcarifer in Singapore (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Life-history, ecology and fisheries of the Blackspot shark (Carcharhinus sealei) and Bluespotted maskray (Neotrygon spp.) in Southeast Asia: implications for conservation and management (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Striking Gold - Determining the genetic Drivers of Gold Coloration in Barramundi (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Utilising endocrine manipulators to prevent natural sex change from male to female and evaluating sperm efficacy in Barramundi (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Early pathogen detection using advanced–omics approaches to understand Cryptocaryon irritans outbreaks in barramundi aquaculture (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Investigating the Significance of Shrimp Viruses on Australian Black Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus monodon) Aquaculture Production (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • A historical occurrence of PMMS and strain: Variation in black tiger shrimp in Australian Aquaculture (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The Pathobiology of Enteritis Complex in Cultured Barramundi, Lates calcarifer (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • A strategic roadmap for the selection of high-performance strains of Asparagopsis taxiformis in an aquaculture setting (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Intestinal and environmental microbiome community analysis in farmed black tiger and banana shrimps as a tool for prawn health and production biomonitoring (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Monitoring tropical freshwater biodiversity using environmental DNA (eDNA) (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Building the foundations of a selective breeding program in giant grouper Epinephelus lanceloatus (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • A forensic approach to elucidating the life history of the deadly jellyfish Chironex fleckeri using eDNA (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Genomic selection of barramundi (Lates calcarifer) for improved scale drop disease virus (SDDV) resistance, growth, and fillet traits (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Advanced selective breeding of Black Soldier Flies for improving Commercial production traits (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Genetic Architecture and advanced selective Breeding of Health-related Production Traits in the Australian Giant Grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Nutritional Requirement Study and Optimised Feed Development for Red Snapper (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Developing Genetic Resources for Red Snapper Breeding Programs (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Optimising selective breeding techniques for direct implementation into Black Tiger Prawn and Silver Lipped Oyster commercial breeding programs (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Understanding Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) genetic contributions and mating behaviour across wild and commercial production systems for improved breeding applications (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Deciphering cryptocaryon disease resistance in barramundi (Lates calcarifer): Genetic architecture, interactions, and advanced genomic selection modelling (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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