Kyall R. Zenger PhD, MSc(Hons), BAppSc, GradDipLS, GradCertTMLP has more than 20 years’ experience conducting research and teaching within the disciplines of applied animal production and quantitative / evolutionary genetics on both aquatic and terrestrial animals.

Prof. Zenger was awarded his PhD with Vice Chancellor's commendation in animal genetics from Macquarie University in 2002. Prof. Zenger’s early career research (1997-2007) encompassing genomic investigations and quantitative analyses across a diverse array of both terrestrial and aquatic animal models has provided him with the necessary skills to apply this expertise in the field of aquaculture genetic. In 2008, Prof. Zenger joined the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture (CSTFA) as a Senior Researcher at James Cook University. Since this date, he has been building many large genomics projects, including advanced genomic selection (ie., GEBVs) of diverse aquatic species, and has successfully acquired research funding in excess of $13 million. Prof. Zenger’s experience working directly with industry has provided him with the capacity to bridge both applied and pure basic research areas while ensuring maximum returns on both. In 2014, he accepted the position of Deputy director of ARC Research Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding, and heads other major R&D programs including ARC linkage project on Advanced Breeding in Silver lipped pearl oyster.

Prof. Zenger teaching responsibilities encompass his core research strengths of animal genetics and applied animal production at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Prof. Zenger currently supervises 14 PhD students, and maintains a diverse group of research associates through his ongoing collaborations. He is the current Aquaculture course program coordinator and Head of Aquaculture academic group within the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University.

  • AQ3003: Aquaculture: Propagation (Level 3; TSV)
  • AQ3004: Aquaculture: Stock Improvement (Level 3; TSV)
  • AQ5003: Aquaculture: Propagation (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5004: Aquaculture: Stock Improvement (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5015: Sustainable Aquaculture (Level 5; TSV)
  • BZ3450: Ecological and Conservation Genetics (Level 3; TSV)
  • BZ5450: Ecological and Conservation Genetics (Level 5; TSV)
  • Genome structure of commercial or evolutionary important species.
  • Evolutionary and population genetics of terrestrial and aquatic species.
  • Advanced genomic tools for selective breeding applications in aquaculture species.
  • Understanding adaptive trait variation in natural populations.
  • Bridging the knowledge and skill transfer gap between academia and industry
  • Inspiring young scientists to embrace genetics and genomics
  • Promoting student critical analysis skills
  • 2017 to present - Acting Director ARC ITRH for Advanced Prawn Breeding (Sept 2017-Jan 2018), JCU (Australia)
  • 2016 to present - Coordinator of CSE AQ3003, AQ5003, JCU (Australia)
  • 2016 to present - Head of CSE Aquaculture Academic Program, JCU (Australia)
  • 2015 to present - Deputy Director ARC ITRH for Advanced Prawn Breeding, JCU (Australia)
  • 2015 to present - Coordinator of CSE BSc(AqScTech) & GradCert(AqScTech), JCU (Australia)
  • 2014 to present - WorkPackage 3 Leader ARC ITRH for Advanced Prawn Breeding, JCU (Australia)
  • 2014 to present - Associate Professor, JCU (Australia)
  • 2013 to present - Deputy Chair & Animal Ethics Committee member (cat B), JCU (Australia)
  • 2013 to present - MEEL Laboratory Committee member, JCU (Australia)
  • 2011 to present - Coordinator of CSE AQ3004, AQ5004, BZ3450, BZ5450, JCU (Australia)
  • 2012 to 2015 - Coordinator of CSE Honours program, JCU (Australia)
  • 2011 to 2015 - CSE Aquaculture Postgraduate Liason Officer, JCU (Australia)
  • 2011 to 2014 - CSE Senior Lecturer, JCU (Australia)
  • 2008 to 2011 - CSE Senior Research Fellow, JCU (Australia)
  • 2007 - Lecturer, University of Sydney, Faculty of Veterinary Science (Australia)
  • 2002 to 2007 - Research Fellow, University of Sydney, Faculty of Veterinary Science (Australia)
  • 1997 to 2002 - Associate Lecturer, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science (Australia)
  • 1993 to 1997 - Associate Lecturer, UWS, Faculty of Science (Australia)
  • 1994 to 1996 - Associate Lecturer, UWS, Faculty of Business (Australia)
  • 1993 to 1994 - Environmental Chemist, ADI Australia (Australia)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2016 - Inclusive Practice Award, AccessAbility Services, JCU
  • 2013 - First prize for best co-authored poster at ISFNF international conference
  • 2012 - Nominated and finalist for "Lecturer of the year" (JCU student union).
  • 2011 - First prize for outstanding staff poster at NQFLS research presentations
  • 2006 - First prize for outstanding presentation at ISAG international conference.
  • 2002 - Vice-Chancellors Commendation (Macquarie University) for outstanding PhD research thesis.
  • 2001 - Deputy Vice-Chancellors Commendation (Macquarie University) for outstanding research.
  • 2001 - International travel allowance (Macquarie University)
  • 1997 - Commonwealth APA PhD scholarship
  • 2011 - Science for Wildlife Inc Society
  • 2008 - World Aquaculture Society

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 122+ research outputs authored by Prof Kyall Zenger from 2000 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research - Fisheries Program

Addressing key technical bottlenecks in the grouper supply chain in Vietnam and Australia through manufactured feed and hatchery developments that aim to improve sector profitability

Indicative Funding
$2,500,000 over 3 years
The project aims to address key bottlenecks in the aquaculture grouper supply chain in Vietnam and Australia through research into nutritional constraints and drivers for commercial feed adoption by the Vietnam grow-out farming sector, as well as factors affecting the supply of high-quality eggs, larvae and juveniles in both Vietnam and Australia. A physiological approach to nutrient requirements and feeds development will be applied to address nutrient-related production bottlenecks for grouper aquaculture. This project will develop commercially implemented feed formulated specifically for grouper, facilitating the further development of the industry in Vietnam and Australia.
Leo Nankervis, Kyall Zenger and Kelly Condon (College of Science & Engineering)
Grouper (Epinephelus spp); Nutrition; Hatchery; Vietnam; ACIAR

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

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

NSW Government: Office of Environment and Heritage - Research Grant

A cross-disciplinary approach to characterising koala population status, landscape and climate refugia across the Blue Mountains region, to inform long-term management

Indicative Funding
$51,300 over 3 years (administered by Science for Wildlife Limited)
Koalas in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (GBMWHA) use diverse habitats. The area has been identified as a climate refuge for several species over recent geological history. This Project will employ a cross-disciplinary research approach (genomics and ecological data) to build knowledge of koala distribution, population dynamics and landscape utilisation, and to characterise climate change refugia to inform management across land tenures. The project will ensure that habitat restoration and threat mitigation activities are focussed on the habitats and landscape features that are most likely to support koalas in the long term under a changing climate, and will identify and help to secure highly genetically diverse koala populations.
Kellie Leigh, Kyall Zenger, Damien Higgins and Jennifer Tobey in collaboration with Peter Ridgeway (Science for Wildlife Limited, College of Science & Engineering, The University of Sydney, San Diego Zoo Global and NSW Government: Local Land Services Greater Sydney)
koala genomics; refugia; Climate Change; Management; Phascolarctos cinereus

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

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, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, 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

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 University of Melbourne)
Barramundi; Lates calcarifer; Aquaculture; Selective Breeding; 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.

  • Characterizing the Genomic Signal of Speciation by Reinforcement (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Population Assessment and Conservation Implications for the Mahogany Glider in the Fragmented Lowlands of Australian Wet Tropics (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Management of genetic diversity in Australian threatened species (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Building the foundations of a selective breeding program in giant grouper Epinephelus lanceloatus (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Deciphering cryptocaryon disease resistance in barramundi (Lates calcarifer): Genetic architecture, interactions, and advanced genomic selection modelling (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Understanding Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) genetic contributions and mating behaviour across wild and commercial production systems for improved breeding applications (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Optimising selective breeding techniques for direct implementation into Black Tiger Prawn and Silver Lipped Oyster commercial breeding programs (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Advanced selective breeding of Black Soldier Flies for improving Commercial production traits (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Unravelling genomic patterns of population structure and fitness in the Australian koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • A strategic roadmap for the selection of high-performance strains of Asparagopsis taxiformis in an aquaculture setting (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Antimicrobial peptides from black soldier fly larvae ? identification, classification and application as antimicrobial agents. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The population ecology of common tropical baitfishes in the lndo-Pacific (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The use of molecular methods to detect ciguatoxin producing dinoflagellates in Australia. (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)
  • Investigation of Skin Coloration of Coral Trout Plectropomus leopardus to solve darkening Skin issues in its Mariculture (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Tracing the impacts of Dietary Starch on growth, physiology and health of Giant Grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Chitosan in Aquaculture: Effect on The Physical Properties of Pellets, Growth Performances, Survival Rate, and Physiological Aspects of Australian Spiny Lobster Panulirus ornatus (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 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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