About

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.

Teaching
  • AQ5803: Aquaculture: Propagation Techniques (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5804: Aquaculture: Stock Improvement Techniques (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5806: Aquaculture: Introductory Principles and Practices (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5807: Aquaculture: Animal Ecophysiology (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5809: Aquaculture in the Tropics (Level 5; TSV)
  • AQ5815: Sustainable Aquaculture Principles and Practices (Level 5; TSV)
  • BZ3450: Ecological and Conservation Genetics (Level 3; TSV)
  • BZ5450: Ecological and Conservation Genetics (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB5450: Molecular Approaches to Marine Ecology and Evolution (Level 5; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • 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.
Teaching
  • Bridging the knowledge and skill transfer gap between academia and industry
  • Inspiring young scientists to embrace genetics and genomics
  • Promoting student critical analysis skills
Experience
  • 2017 to present - Acting Director ARC ITRH for Advanced Prawn Breeding (Sept 2017-Jan 2018), JCU
  • 2016 to present - Coordinator of CSE AQ3003, AQ5003, JCU
  • 2016 to present - Head of CSE Aquaculture Academic Program, JCU
  • 2015 to present - Deputy Director ARC ITRH for Advanced Prawn Breeding, JCU
  • 2015 to present - Coordinator of CSE BSc(AqScTech) & GradCert(AqScTech), JCU
  • 2014 to present - WorkPackage 3 Leader ARC ITRH for Advanced Prawn Breeding, JCU
  • 2014 to present - Associate Professor, JCU
  • 2013 to present - Deputy Chair & Animal Ethics Committee member (cat B), JCU
  • 2013 to present - MEEL Laboratory Committee member, JCU
  • 2011 to present - Coordinator of CSE AQ3004, AQ5004, BZ3450, BZ5450, JCU
  • 2012 to 2015 - Coordinator of CSE Honours program, JCU
  • 2011 to 2015 - CSE Aquaculture Postgraduate Liason Officer, JCU
  • 2011 to 2014 - CSE Senior Lecturer, JCU
  • 2008 to 2011 - CSE Senior Research Fellow, JCU
  • 2007 - Lecturer, University of Sydney, Faculty of Veterinary Science
  • 2002 to 2007 - Research Fellow, University of Sydney, Faculty of Veterinary Science
  • 1997 to 2002 - Associate Lecturer, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science
  • 1993 to 1997 - Associate Lecturer, UWS, Faculty of Science
  • 1994 to 1996 - Associate Lecturer, UWS, Faculty of Business
  • 1993 to 1994 - Environmental Chemist, ADI Australia
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 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
Memberships
  • 2011 - Science for Wildlife Inc Society
  • 2008 - World Aquaculture Society
Publications

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
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 80+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Kyall Zenger from 2000 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 advanced breeding to transform prawn aquaculture

Indicative Funding
$4,979,922 over 6 years
Summary
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.
Investigators
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)
Keywords
Aquaculture; Prawns; Selective Breeding

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Advanced animal breeding in aquaculture: using genome-wide molecular breeding values for rapid animal improvement in the Silver-lipped pearl oyster

Indicative Funding
$541,032 over 4 years, in partnership with Atlas Pearls and Perfumes Ltd ($210,000 over 3 yrs)
Summary
The primary impediment to achieving rapid genetic progress in aquaculture is an inability to accurately and rapidly identify high-performance animals for selection as parents in animal breeding programs. This project aims to develop an innovative genomic selection breeding system for the silver-lipped pearl oyster to overcome current limitations associated with traditional animal improvement methods. The use of genomic selection will not only transform the Australian pearl oyster industry, but it will also showcase the potential of genomic selection in aquaculture globally. Furthermore, knowledge gained from this project can also be applied to a variety of other Australian aquaculture species to accelerate the uptake of this technology.
Investigators
Kyall Zenger, Dean Jerry and Herman Raadsma in collaboration with Joseph Taylor (College of Science & Engineering, The University of Sydney and Atlas Pearls and Perfumes Ltd)
Keywords
aquaculture; Animal Breeding; Quantitative Genetics

Australian Wildlife Society - University Student Grant

Do bacterial immune defences drive the recovery of threatened frog populations?

Indicative Funding
$1,500
Summary
Emerging infectious diseases are a growing problem for wildlife. One of these diseases, chytridiomycosis, has decimatedmany amphibian populations world-wide. Some populations have, however, recovered from chytridiomycosis outbreaks, and understanding the factors enabling their recovery will aid management efforts. Our project will examine the possibility that frogs have shifted their microbiomes to contain more anti-microbial species. These species may have played an important role in the recovery of frog populations.
Investigators
Donald McKnight, Kyall Zenger, Lin Schwarzkopf, Ross Alford and Deborah Bower (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Conservation; emerging infectious disease; chytridiomycosis; Amphibian; Evolution; microbiome

Australia & Pacific Science Foundation - Research Project Grant

Mate Choice and the Evolution of Sexually-selected Traits and Behaviours in the Lesser Blue-ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena maculosa)

Indicative Funding
$36,100 over 4 years
Summary
The proposed study will incorporate laboratory-held mate choice experiments and genomic exploration field samples to investigate courtship behaviour, modes of sexual selection, polyandry and population structure of the Southern Blue-ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena maculosa). It is anticipated that this study will identify whether sexual selection exists as a driving force for particular phenotypic traits and/or behaviours within the H. maculosa species. This study is also predicted to increase our understanding of octopod reproductive biology in general, and it is hoped that the results of this study will help to increase out knowledge of the potentially complex behavioural ecology within a unique Australian taxon.
Investigators
Kyall Zenger in collaboration with Peter Morse, Mark McCormick and Cristine Huffard (College of Science & Engineering and California Academy of Sciences)
Keywords
Southern Blue-Ringed Octopus; Octopodiddae; Mate Choice; Sexual Selection; Population Connectivity; Polyandry; Cephalopoda

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Deciphering the molecular and environmental determinants of sex-change in barramundi

Indicative Funding
$523,092 over 4 years, in partnership with Mainstream Aquaculture ($244,740 over 3 yrs)
Summary
Barramundi breeding programs to boost productivity and international competitiveness are hindered by a lack of reproductive control. Barramundi change sex from male to emale at 3-5 years of age, requiring hatcheries to maintain male broodstock for several years before they can be bred as females. This increases required infrastructure and decreases the rate of genetic improvement that can be achieved. This project will elucidate genetic mechanisms regulating barramundi sex change and will develop approaches allowing hatcheries to efficiently control broodstock sex. The ability to obtain reproductive control
Investigators
Dean Jerry, Kyall Zenger and Andreas Lopata in collaboration with Paul Harrison (College of Science & Engineering, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and Mainstream Aquaculture Pty Ltd)
Keywords
Aquaculture; sex development; Barramundi

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Addressing koala conservation management needs: applying novel genomic methods and assessing ecological exchangeability across the species range

Indicative Funding
$75,000 over 4 years (administered by University of Sydney)
Summary
One of Australia's most iconic species, the koala, is under threat. This project will use cutting edge whole-genome technology to assess levels of genetic diversity and population differentiation across the species range, to inform the setting of conservation management units.
Investigators
Herman Raadsma, Kyall Zenger, Kellie Leigh and Jennifer Tobey (The University of Sydney, College of Science & Engineering, Science for Wildlife Limited and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research)
Keywords
Koala; Genomics; conservation management; genetic exchangeability
Supervision

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.

Current
  • Uncovering the potential of the Australian black tiger prawn for a large scale aquaculture selective breeding program (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Genomics and Transmission Dynamics of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis in PNG and the Torres Strait (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Venom Function, Composition and Evolution in the Blue-Ringed Octopus, Genus Hapalochlaena (PhD , Advsor Mentor)
  • Genomic Selection Model Testing and Breeding Design Evaluation for the Silver Lipped Pearl Oyster (Pincata maxima) (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Development of Dense Genomic Resources for the Black Tiger Prawn to Unravel the Genetic Architecture of Complex Traits in the Black Tiger Prawn (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Life Finds a Way: The Recovery of Frog Populations From a Chytridiomycosis Outbreak (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Addressing koala conservation management needs: applying novel genomic methods and assessing ecological exchangeability and genetic diveristy across the species range. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Domestication in Aquaculture Fishes- Elucidating the Genetic Consequences in Nile tilapia (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Connectivity within fisheries species along the Great Barrier Reef: genomics and modelling (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Population Ecology of Common Baitfish Species in the Indo-Pacific (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Population Genomics of Black Tiger Prawns Penaeus monodon to Understand Wild Fishery and Aquaculture Production (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Gene Regulation and Morphological Analysis for Sex Differentation Gonadal Maturation and Sex Reversal of Barramundi (Lates calcarifer Bloch) With and Without Administration of Exogenous hormone and Aromatase Inhibitor. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Biochemical and Immunological Characterisation of the Major Allergens in Australian Molluscs (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
Completed
Data

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.

Collaboration

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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