Professor Dean Jerry is the Director of the ARC Research Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding, and Director of the Tropical Futures InstituteJCU Singapore.

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 $22+ million of external funding, the majority linked to industry co-funded projects, and published 140+ scientific articles in the area of aquaculture and genetics.

He also currently advises and assists with selective breeding programs for pearl oysters, marine shrimp, Murray cod, barramundi and redclaw crayfish.

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 research projects with industry (2019)

Unleashing the tiger - advanced breeding to transform prawn aquaculture, ARC Industrial Transformation Research Program (partners Seafarms, Australian Genome Research Facility, USyd, CSIRO)

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

Genetic audit of Murray cod broodstock, Innovations Connections (partner Marianvale Cod)

Rapid iteration selective breeding : Australia's fish to feed the world, CRC-P (partner 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


Recent media

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


Recent industry collaborators and academic partners

Mainstream Aquaculture

Australian Prawn Farmers Association

Australian Barramundi Farmers Association

Australian Abalone growers Association

Seafarms Ltd

Australian Genome Research Facility


Qld Dept of Agriculture and Fisheries

North Qld Redclaw Farmers Association

Barramundi Asia

Coral Coast Barramundi

Australian Prawn Farms

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research

Marianvale Cod

Ellies Pearls

Cygnet Bay Pearls

Clipper Pearls

Atlas South Sea Pearl

Global Gen


CRC for Developing Northern Australia


The Product Makers

Ridley's Agrifood

Good Fortune Bay Fisheries





  • AQ2002: Aquaculture of Tropical Species (Level 2; TSV)
  • AQ3003: Aquaculture: Propagation (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
Socio-Economic Objectives

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
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 149+ 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.

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 3 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 Industry - Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program

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

Indicative Funding
$796,585 over 4 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 3 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 2 years
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 3 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 4 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

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 3 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

Rapid iteration selective breeding: Australia's fish to feed the world

Indicative Funding
$1,090,000 over 3 years (administered by Mainstream Aquaculture Pty Ltd)
Barramundi - Australia?s favourite fish ? is gaining popularity worldwide as a farmed solution for supply of white fish. The world needs a sustainable source of white fish, as current supply comes from declining wild catch fisheries. Industrial scale farming offers a solution. Success relies on improved seed stock and the Australian Barramundi industry in conjunction with the CRC-P program is tackling this challenge by applying advanced modern genetics to Australia?s barramundi breeding stocks.
Paul Harrison, Dean Jerry, Kyall Zenger, Jan Strugnell and Nick Robinson (Mainstream Aquaculture Pty Ltd, College of Science & Engineering and The University of Melbourne)
Barramundi; Lates calcarifer; Aquaculture; Selective Breeding; Genetics

QLD Department of Science, Information, Technology and Innovation - Advance Queensland PhD Scholarships

Development of advanced reproductive techniques to characterize infertility in Barramundi

Indicative Funding
$45,000 over 3 years
Since the 1980's, the $45 million barramundi aquaculture industry has stagnated due to a lack of development of advanced breeding technologies. With the recent development of genomic resources & putative methods to control sex, the industry is poised to undergo rapid expansion by implementing a genetic-based breeding program. Significant impediments to progress include dependence on often unsuccessful mixed spawning events, under-representation of genetically valuable individuals in offspring, & an inability to preserve valuable bloodlines - all due to a poor understanding of the factors that determine (in)fertility in this species. This project will develop advanced reproductive techniques to characterize infertility & accelerate selective breeding in barramundi, which will be implemented into the industry. This project has been granted by the JCU Partnership Grants to consolidate the collaboration between the university and our industry partner, Mainstream Aquaculture, endowed with the largest recirculating aquaculture system operating in mainland Australia. Barramundi farming hold a subsequent place in Queensland as it is place of more than half of the Australian barramundi farm production. The outcomes of this project will provide a new leverage for Queensland's industry and economy by directly impacting the production, increasing capability for aquaculture farms and bring innovation in rural regions. Page 2
Adrien Marc, Damien Paris, Dean Jerry and Jarrod Guppy (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and College of Science & Engineering)
Lates calcarifer calcarifer (Latidae); Aquaculture; Animal Production; Sperm quality quality; DNA Damage; Infertility

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Industrial Transformation Research Hubs

ARC Research Hub for advanced breeding to transform prawn aquaculture

Indicative Funding
$4,979,922 over 6 years
Project Seadragon will establish the world's largest black tiger prawn farm, significantly boosting the Australian aquaculture sector. To operate with maximum efficiency and maintain international competitiveness, Project Seadragon will require transformative technologies in advanced animal breeding to produce high-yielding, genetically improved, farm strains. The ARC ITRH will coalesce world-leading animal geneticists, research and service providers, and Australia's largest prawn farm, and gather the genomic resources, commercial phenotypic data, and apply cutting-edge genetic and genomic selection methodologies, leading to the most advanced and industry transformative improvement program for any aquaculture species globally.
Dean Jerry, Kyall Zenger, Herman Raadsma and Peter Thomson in collaboration with Jeff Cowley, Greg Coman, Melony Sellars, Wade Nicholas, Kirby Siemering, Matthew Tinning and Dallas Donovan (College of Science & Engineering, The University of Sydney, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Australian Genome Research Facility and Western Australian Resources Limited)
Aquaculture; Prawns; Selective Breeding

Department of Industry - Innovations Connections

Developing the basis for wild caught prawn broodstock biosecurity protocols

Indicative Funding
$49,594 , in partnership with Australian Prawn Farms Pty Ltd ($49,594 over 2 yrs)
The project will monitor the presence and viral load of a number of endemic prawn viruses in farmed prawns collected at Australian Prawn Farm. The data collected will be used to prepare evidence based management protocols to improve productivity on the farm.
Dean Jerry and Kelly Condon (College of Science & Engineering)
qPCR; Penaeus monodon; Virus

Ecological Society of Australia - Student Research Awards

Is temperature an ecological driver of sex change in hermaphroditic fish?

Indicative Funding
Using barramundi as an experimental model, we will test the hypothesis that temperature is an ecological driver of sex change in fish, acting via changes in DNA methylation of conserved sex-determining genes and ultimately resulting in differences in the size and age at which populations change sex. The findings will significantly advance current understanding of temperature as an ecological driver sex change and facilitate predictions of the effect of climate change on key population demographics; sex ratio and effective population size. Specifically, the results will inform management strategies for barramundi fisheries and assist in the preservation of associated aquatic ecosystems.
Alyssa Budd and Dean Jerry in collaboration with Olivia Whybird and Julie Robins (College of Science & Engineering, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Forestry)
Fisheries; DNA Methylation; Sex Change; Environmental Epigenetics; Temperature; Barramundi (Latidae)

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.

  • Developing New Tools to Improve Fish Production and Understand the Causes of Infertility in Barramundi (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Mitigating the impact of the Acropora-eating flatworm, Prosthiostomum acroporae on captive Acropora coral colonies (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Development of Captive Breeding Techniques for the Striped Blenny Meiacanthus grammistes: A Popular Marine Ornamental Fish (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Broodstock Conditioning of the Tropical Blacklip Rock Oyster (Saccostrea Echinata) (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)
  • Population Genomics of Black Tiger Prawns Penaeus monodon to Understand Wild Fishery and Aquaculture Production (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Using Environmental DNA (eDNA) as an early Detection and Monitoring Tool for Fish Ectoparisites Affecting Aquaculture in Southeast Asia (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Physiological response to environmental stressors in the BlackTiger Prawn, P. Monodon (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)
  • 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)
  • Finding the missing link of jellyfish life history (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Resolving the global occurrence and distribution of sawfishes using genetic techniques (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Development of Captive Breeding Techniques for two Marine Ornamental Fish: Rainfordi's Goby Koumansetta Rainfordi, and the Coral Sea Fairy Wrasse Cirrhilabrus Bathyphilus (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Developing High-Performance Deep Learning Tools for Marine Habitat Monitoring (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • The Physiological Plasticity of Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola Lalandi) in Response to Varying Nutrition: Improving YTK Aquaculture Through Better Feed Formulation (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)

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


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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  3. Dr Dave Jones
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  4. Dr Kelly Condon
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  5. Dr Jose Domingos
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