Professor Rocky de Nys has extensive research experience in aquaculture and marine biotechnology; algal biomass and bio-products; natural products and antifouling. He has a focus on applied research with an emphasis on commercialisation where there are direct and foreseeable outcomes for industry. He supports strong industry collaborations in the development and implementation of technologies for sustainable aquaculture, with a focus on the production of macroalgal biomass for bioremediation and bio-products. Applications for these technologies range from algal bioremediation of wastewaters from aquaculture and municipal water treatment through to algal biomass for human foods and bioenergy.

  • Innovative applications for macroalgal resources and biotechnologies
  • Macroalgal biomass and bioproducts
  • Bioremediation of aquatic waste waters
  • Bioremediation of industrial waste waters and carbon capture
  • 2011 to present - Professor and Research Leader, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2005 to 2011 - Professor and Head of Discipline - Aquaculture, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2002 to 2005 - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 1994 to 2002 - ARC Research Fellow and Postdoctoral Fellow, University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia)
  • 2000 - Graduate Diploma of Technical Management, Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia)
  • 1993 to 1994 - Postdoctoral Fellow, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • 1992 - PhD, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 1988 - MSc, University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand)
  • 1985 - BSc, University of Waikato (Hamilton, New Zealand)
Research Disciplines
  • 2006 - CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship Fellowship
  • 2002 - JCU Vice-Chancellor's Award for Entrepreneurial Research
  • 2001 - Young Tall Poppy NSW (Australian Institute of Political Science), Recognising the achievements of Australia's outstanding younf researchers
  • 2017 - Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE)
  • Chartered chemist
  • MRACI - Royal Australian Chemical Institute

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 208+ research outputs authored by Prof Rocky de Nys 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 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)

Sea Forest Pty Ltd - Contract Research

Cultivation of Asparagopsis taxiformis

Indicative Funding
$90,573 over 2 years
This project aims to deliver the closed life cycle production of gametophytes from tetraspores of A. taxiforms. Specifically, it will develop the techniques for the mass formation of tetraspores of A. taxiformis and their subsequent germination and growth to multicellular erect gametophytes.
Rocky de Nys (College of Science & Engineering)
aquaculture; natural products; seaweed; methane emissions

Mainstream Aquaculture - Contract Research

Ongoing contract research until June 2021

Indicative Funding
$72,532 over 1 year
To conduct ongoing contract research with known industry partner at 1 day per week ~ 0.2 FTE.
Rocky de Nys (College of Science & Engineering)
Aquaculture; Barramundi; Sustainability; Bioremediation

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Flavour enhancing functional feeds for farmed barramundi

Indicative Funding
$4,170 over 3 years (administered by Deakin University)
This project will develop novel functional feeds for improving the flavour quality of Australian farmed barramundi. Using a multidisciplinary approach, this Project expects to expand our fundamental knowledge of flavour enhancement, whilst providing significant practical benefits with respect to final product quality. The project's outcomes will enable industry to achieve higher product quality benchmarks, towards the ultimate goal of improving the marketability of barramundi both locally and overseas. This project is intended to provide significant benefits to the Australian barramundi industry by increasing product values, thereby facilitating an economically sustainable growth of this important regional industry.
David Francis, Giovanni Turchini, Rocky de Nys, Damien Callahan, Xavier Conlan, Russell Keast and Vittorio Moretti in collaboration with Richard Smullen and Sue Poole (Deakin University, College of Science & Engineering, Universita degli Studi di Milano, Ridley AgriProducts, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries & Forestry)
aquaculture; Flavour; Barramundi; Food Chemistry; Seaweed; Animal Nutrition

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

Department of Industry - Global Innovation Linkages Programme

Algae technology aiding aquaculture sustainability and food security

Indicative Funding
$548,010 over 3 years (administered by Pacific Biotechnologies Ltd)
The first targeted outcome of this project will be to clean incoming and waste water to improve walter quality and provide increased bio-security from bacterial pathogens in intensive aquaculture. The second targeted outcome will be to test the efficacy of functional algae in shrimp feed to improve disease resistance and product quality. Overall these outcome will deliver a sustainable platform for aquaculture in Vietnam.
Arnold Mangott, Rocky de Nys, Dan Mulder, Thomas Torsten and Dinh Lam (Pacific Biotechnologies Ltd, College of Science & Engineering, The University of New South Wales and Viet-Uc)
Aquaculture; Aquatic Animal Health; Bioremediation; Food Security; Biosecurity; Sustainability

QLD Department of Environment and Science - Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships

Health products from Queensland algae

Indicative Funding
$53,559 over 2 years (administered by University of Southern Queensland)
The overarching aim of the project is to generate the evidence required to create new health products from algae produced in Queensland by the industry partner MBD. The project team has recently demonstrated the potential therapeutic benefits of using algae in diets to deliver nutrients and minerals. This work shows that algae are functional foods, that is, foods that could reverse or prevent disease and deliver health benefits. We will now test whether a range of products can be developed from different algae to decrease or prevent obesity, improve muscle tone especially in the elderly, and prebiotics for gut health.
Rocky de Nys, David Roberts, Lindsay Brown, Sunil Panchal and Arnold Mangott (College of Science & Engineering and University of Southern Queensland)
Algae; Metabolic Syndrome; Minerals; Health; Pigments; Seaweed

Department of Industry - Innovation Connections - Entrepreneurs' Programme

Translating research and development into best practice aquaculture through wastewater service and new product development

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 1 year, in partnership with Pacific Biotechnologies Ltd ($50,000)
This project will deliver research and development capability to MBD Energy Ltd through the placement of Dr Nicholas Paul in the business in order to develop and implement new ideas with commercial potential in products and services.
Rocky de Nys and Nicholas Paul (College of Science & Engineering)
Seaweed; Algae; Aquaculture; Business; Products; Services

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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.


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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