Professor Dean Jerry 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 150+ 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 people and companies 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 organims 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 - Detrmining 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)
  • AQ3015: Sustainable Aquaculture (Level 3; TSV)
  • AQ5003: Aquaculture: Propagation (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5009: Aquaculture of Tropical Species (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5802: Aquaculture: Nutrition and Feeding Practices (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5816: Current Trends in Aquaculture (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

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 164+ 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 - Linkage - Industrial Transformation Research Hubs

ARC Research Hub for Supercharging Tropical Aquaculture Through Genetic Solutions

Indicative Funding
$5,014,503 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); Seafarms ($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 and Leo Nankervis (College of Science & Engineering, The University of Queensland, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Selective Breeding; Genomics; Aquaculture

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 - 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

Australian Lions Foundation - Marine Species Research Fund

A Forensic Approach to Elucidating the Life History of the Deadly Jellyfish Chironex fleckeri using eDNA.

Indicative Funding
$7,000 over 1 year
The polyps of the deadly Chironex fleckeri represent the longest-lived stage of jellyfish and are the source of medusa. However, there is almost no information on the benthic polyp stages of this species. Environmental DNA should allow me to detect polyps and therefore identify the sources of jellyfish which will increase our understanding of cubozoan ecology and how to minimise their threat of envenomating humans. Further, oceanographic modelling, that incorporates the decay of eDNA, will provide greater knowledge of `DNA? halos? that signals proximity to targeted polyp beds and jellyfish aggregations.
Scott Morrissey, Mike Kingsford and Dean Jerry (College of Science & Engineering)
Environmental DNA; Cubozoa; Life-History; Detection; Jellyfish; Polyp

Fisheries Research & Development Corporation - Annual Competitive Round

Barramundi origins: determining the contribution of stocking to the barramundi catch on Queensland's east coast.

Indicative Funding
$52,000 over 2 years (administered by QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)
Barramundi are stocked in impoundments, freshwater rivers and estuaries along the Queensland east coast and there is strong evidence that a substantial proportion of these fish find their way into estuarine and coastal environments. However, what this contribution actually is to the barramundi commercial fishery is unknown. Established methods for identifying the source of fish-genetics and otolith microchemistry-can be effective, but are costly. This project will evaluate near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS) on otoliths as a rapid approach to identify if a barramundi is stocked or not.
Dean Jerry and Julie Goldsbury (College of Science & Engineering)
Barramundi; Fisheries; Lates calcarifer; DNA Parentage

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) - Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub

The Northern Australia eDNA Program - Revolutionising Aquatic Monitoring and Field Surveys in Tropical Waters

Indicative Funding
$570,000 over 4 years
All organisms shed DNA into their environment. This is termed environment DNA (eDNA). Capture and analysis of eDNA (in soil or water samples) is a highly efficient and sensitive method to detect the presence of a wide range of species without actually requiring physical capture, or sighting of the organisms themselves. eDNA field sampling can involve as little as collecting water samples and
Damien Burrows, Jan Strugnell, Roger Huerlimann, Richard C Edmunds and Dean Jerry (TropWATER and College of Science & Engineering)
eDNA; Threatened Species; Northern Australia; exotic pest species; aquatic monitoring; Genetics

Department of Industry - Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program

Pearls of wisdom - Breeding for increase tolerance to juvenile pearl oyster mortality syndrome

Indicative Funding
$685,875 over 3 years (administered by Ellies Pearls)
A decade ago pearl farming was one of the major employers and contributors to the social-economic fabric of northern Australia, contributing $189.7 million farm-gate to the national economy. However, in recent years Australian pearl production has been severely impacted by episodic and large-scale mortality events by an as yet unidentified causative factor. These mortality events, termed juvenile pearl oyster mortality syndrome (or JPOMS), have resulted in massive write-downs in production and economic value of the industry. This project will develop the genetic knowledge and lay the foundation for a selective breeding program in pearl oysters that are resistance to JPOMS.
Dean Jerry, Kyall Zenger, Jan Strugnell, Dave Jones, David Jackson and James H Brown (College of Science & Engineering, Ellies Pearls and Cygnet Bay Pearls)
Pinctada maxima; JPOMS; Selective Breeding

Save Our Seas Foundation - Grant

SOSF Global Sawfish Search

Indicative Funding
$253,655 over 4 years
This project will enhance global conservation efforts for sawfishes by using environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques to undertake a global survey of their current distribution. eDNA represents a cost effective, accurate and simple method for broad-scale surveys of rare and threatened species such as sawfishes. Field and laboratory techniques will be validated for all five sawfish species, a global sampling plan developed and implemented, and the results synthesized to produce revised current distributions of sawfish species.
Colin Simpfendorfer and Dean Jerry in collaboration with Madalyn Cooper, David Morgan, Peter Kyne and John Carlson (College of Science & Engineering, Murdoch University, Charles Darwin University and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Sawfish; Threatened Species; eDNA; Sawfish; marine conservation

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Scheme - Expressions of Interest

Northern Aquaculture Industry Situational Analysis

Indicative Funding
$202,117 over 1 year
This project will identify key challenges and opportunities facing the North Australian aquaculture sector and explore potential solutions and/or identify the most strategic research projects for further investment. This will include and not be limited to: infrastructure, policy, investment, environmental, production, knoweldge, training and human capital gaps and the research or alternative solutions to address them. The project will be delivered through a literature review, development of the 'Northern aquaculture industry vision 2028' in consultation with indigenous and non-indigenous stakholders, desktop study and SWOT analysis, and the situational analysis report.
Dean Jerry, Jennifer Cobcroft, Kyall Zenger, Jan Strugnell, Amy Diedrich, Chaoshu Zeng, Rocky de Nys and Sandra Hughes in collaboration with Matthew Cook, Robert Bell, Jane Lovell, Wayne Hutchinson, Kim Hooper and Jo-Anne Ruscoe (College of Science & Engineering, JCU Singapore, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Blueshift Consulting, Seafood Industry Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Australian Prawn Farmers Association and Australian Barramundi Farmers Association)
Northern Australia; Aquaculture

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Scheme - Projects

Biosecurity in northern Australian prawn aquaculture

Indicative Funding
$441,819 over 2 years
This project addresses biosecurity risk through conducting the first comprehensive and widespread biosecurity audit of Australian prawn farms. This project has two components. The first is to conduct a biosecurity metanalysis using traditional and molecular diagnostic tools to establish what pathogens currently occur on prawn farms and how they relate to productivity. Secondly, once the pathobiome is established the project will formulate a risk management strategy for industry and provide on-farm biosecurity training. Understanding the risk of disease, and increased capacity to detect and monitor on-farm, will lead to more effective management practices for northern Australian prawn aquaculture.
Dean Jerry, Ellen Ariel, Kelly Condon and Roger Huerlimann (College of Science & Engineering, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Penaeus monodon (Penaidae); Disease; Prawn; Aquaculture

Fisheries Research & Development Corporation - Annual Competitive Round

Testing established methods of early prediction of genetic merit in abalone broodstock

Indicative Funding
$85,422 over 3 years
There is a need in the abalone industry to improve production animals. However, abalone are relatively slow growing animals and take several years to reach harvest size. This means that during the establishment of foundation broodstock populations it may be several years before the relative genetic merit of each of the broodstock can be determined and the first selection decisions made. Researchers at JCU have addressed this time-lag problem of obtaining accurate genetic estimated breeding values (gEBV) in other species. They have shown that broodstock gEBV can be estimated accurately from larvae as early as 18 days through the targeting of growth processes at the cellular level that predict genetic-determined long-term growth. This method is as yet untested in abalone, but if successful, has great potential in helping screen broodstock. This project will test the efficacy of this early prediction method in abalone. The impact of this early detection method would be to save costs by assisting in the selection of superior broodstock individuals which would produce faster growing offspring. Currently new broodstock animals are unevaluated with regard to their genetic merit.
Jan Strugnell, Dean Jerry, Jose Domingos and Catarina Silva (College of Science & Engineering)
Abalone; Genetics

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)
  • Development of advanced reproductive techniques to characterize fertility and accelerate selective breeding in barramundi (Lates calcarifer) (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Broodstock Conditioning of the Tropical Blacklip Rock Oyster (Saccostrea Echinata) (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Development of Captive Breeding Techniques for the Striped Blenny Meiacanthus grammistes: A Popular Marine Ornamental Fish (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Pathogenic bacteria associated with skin lesions in chinook salmon aquaculture. (Masters , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • A Comparative Study of the Circular Economy in Asian Setting: The Experiences of Singapore, Shanghai and Seoul (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Life history, ecology and fisheries impact on Carcharhinus sealei and Carcharhinus tjutjot: implications for conservation and management (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Investigating the Significance of Shrimp Viruses on Australian Black Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus monodon) Aquaculture Production (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Identification of virulence, microbial resistance and toxin encoding- genes in Vibrio sp. from tropical commercial aquaculture. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Population Genomics of Black Tiger Prawns Penaeus monodon to Understand Wild Fishery and Aquaculture Production (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Intestinal and environmental microbiome community analysis in formed block tiger and banana shrimps as a tool for prawn health and production biomonitoring (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Physiological response to environmental stressors in the BlackTiger Prawn, P. Monodon (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Monitoring tropical freshwater biodiversity using environmental DNA (eDNA) (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Development of Dense Genomic Resources for the Black Tiger Prawn to Unravel the Genetic Architecture of Complex Traits in the Black Tiger Prawn (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Resolving the global occurrence and distribution of sawfishes using genetic techniques (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Optimizing dietary specifications for yellowtail kingfish, Seriola lalandi: requirements and interactions of sulfur amino acids and taurine (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Developing High-Performance Deep Learning Tools for Marine Habitat Monitoring (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)
  • Development of advanced genomic breeding systems for Silver Lipped Pearl Oyster (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Finding the missing link of jellyfish life history (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Captive breeding of orchid dottyback Pseudochromis fridmani: reproduction, ontogeny and larval feeding regime (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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