Bilateral scientific collaborations with (inter)national research groups are in place for specific research topics guaranteeing continuous research on the latter.

Research area 1: Unravelling the fundamentals of glucocorticoid actions across vertebrates

Topic: Glucocorticoid-mediated bone (de)formation

Specific topic: Elemental and structural aspects of fish scales
Collaborator: Prof. dr. Laszlo Vincze and Dr. Bart Vekemans
Affiliation: Research Group X-ray Micro-spectroscopy and Imaging, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium.
Expertise: High-resolution laboratory and synchrotron based X-ray fluorescence and X-ray absorption spectroscopic imaging, with emphasis on methodological developments of scanning X-ray micro/nano-analysis.

Specific topic: Morphometric skeletal analysis of fish
Collaborator: Prof. dr. Dominique Adriaens
Research Group: Research Group Evolutionary Morphology of Vertebrates, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium.
Expertise: Evolutionary morphology of vertebrates with a main focus on musculoskeletal systems and including anatomy, functional morphology and early identification of deformations in finfish.

Research area 2: Unravelling the impact of chronic stress across vertebrates

Topic: Feed as stressor focusing on invertebrates (e.g. Artemia), mycotoxins and fish feed constituents

Specific topic: Artemia as potential stressor for fish
Collaborator: Prof. dr. Gilbert Van Stappen
Affiliation: Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium.
Expertise: Artemia as a model organism.

Specific topic: Mycotoxins in fish feed as stressor
Collaborator: Prof. dr. Sarah De Saeger
Affiliation: Ghent University, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Bioanalysis, Laboratory of Food Analysis
Expertise: Chemical food safety, mycotoxins, immunochemical assays, monoclonal antibodies, molecularly imprinted polymers, biomarkers of exposure, risk assessment.

Topic: Microbial endocrinology, interaction between bacteria, glucocorticoids and the stress level in fish

Specific topic: Interaction between glucocorticoids and Vibrio sp.
Collaborator: Prof. dr. Peter Bossier
Affiliation: Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium.
Expertise: Interference in host microbial interactions either by steering microbial community composition or activity (quorum sensing and poly-hydroxybutyrate) or by enforcing host robustness through immunomodulation (e.g. glucan, heat shock proteins and essential oils).

Topic: Pollutants as stressor

Specific topic: Endocrine disruption by chemicals in fish
Collaborator: Prof. dr. Ketil Hylland
Affiliation: Toxicology Research Group, Department of Biosciences, Oslo University, Norway
Expertise: How external stressors, particularly chemicals stressors, affect organisms, communities or processes in the environment and predominantly aquatic and marine ecosystems.

Research area 3: Contributing to a more sustainable and animal welfare minded food production

Topic: Improving sustainability and animal welfare in aquaculture and husbandry

Specific topic: Optimization of RAS systems in aquaculture
Collaborator: Prof. dr. Carsten Schulz
Affiliation: Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel Institut für Tierzucht und Tierhaltung, Kiel, Germany
Gesellschaft für Marine Aquakultur (GMA) mbH, Büsum, Germany
Expertise: Aquaculture of fish focusing on RAS.

Topic: Improving our understanding of the impact of anthropogenic activities on the health status of vertebrates in the wild

Specific topic: Impact of anthropogenic activities on amphibians and reptiles in the wild
Collaborator: Prof. dr. Frank Pasmans and Prof. dr. An Martel
Affiliation: Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Belgium.
Expertise: Veterinary aspects of amphibians and reptiles.

Specific topic: Impact of anthropogenic activities on birds in the wild
Collaborator: Prof. dr. Luc Lens
Affiliation: Terrestrial Ecology Lab, Department of Biology, Ghent University, Belgium.
Expertise: Ornithology using individual-based approach to understand how natural populations of migratory and sedentary birds are affected by rapid environmental change.