Eel larvae feeding. Photo: Sune Riis Sørensen.

PhD defense about optimal rearing conditions in eel larval culture

Wednesday 16 May 18


Time & Place


Tuesday 22 May 2018, 1 p.m.


Building 303A, auditorium 43
2800 Kgs. Lyngby.

The thesis

A copy of the thesis "European eel larval ontogeny and physiology: insights at morphological and molecular level" is available for reading at DTU Aqua. Please, contact Rikke Hansen,

What are the demands of European eel larvae on water temperature and salinity, and what are the nutritional requirements of larvae raised in culture? These are the focus areas of PhD Student Sebastian Nikitas Politis work. On 22 May, he will defend his thesis. 

Danish researchers collaborate with industrial partners on developing the knowledge and technology needed to produce and rear offspring of the European eel in captivity. The aim is to establish a production of glass eels in culture to replace wild glass eels used as fry in eel aquaculture today. Innovative solutions are urgently needed as the European eel stock has declined dramatically and the species is now critically endangered.

Main challenges include identification of rearing conditions that can sustain the early life stages in culture as well as their nutritional requirements needed for tailoring suited feeds for the young eel larvae. Eggs and early stages of larvae have never been caught in the natural spawning habitat, the Sargasso Sea, and therefore, the natural living conditions and early larval stages remain unknown and even the diet of later larval stages is subject of debate. 

To find answers, researchers conduct controlled experiments to identify suited rearing conditions and feeds. PhD Student Sebastian Nikitas Politis, DTU Aqua, has contributed particularly to the scientific development of this area. His research focuses on the impact of water temperature, salinity, and feeding on development and survival of European eel larvae. Here, he has improved the understanding of the complex regulations involved in ontogeny and physiology of eel larvae among other by elucidating molecular aspects of important biological processes.

About the defense

Tuesday 22 May 2018, Sebastian Nikitas Politis will defend his PhD thesis "European eel larval ontogeny and physiology: insights at morphological and molecular level". The defense takes place at 1 p.m. in auditorium 43, building 303A at the DTU Campus in Lyngby.

  • Principal supervisor: Senior Researcher Jonna Tomkiewicz, DTU Aqua.
  • Co-supervisor: Assistant Professor Ian A.E. Butts, Auburn University, USA.
  • Co-supervisor: Research Director José-Luis Zambonino-Infante, IFREMER, France.
  • Professor Einar Eg Nielsen, DTU Aqua.
  • Professor Katsumi Tsukamoto, Nihon University, Japan.
  • Researcher Sofia Engrola, Centre of Marine Sciences of Algarve, Portugal.
Chairperson at defence
  • Professor Henrik Mosegaard, DTU Aqua.


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