Integrated aquaculture with sponges

This is a rewarding opportunity for MSc students with diving experience to work on a field study in the Eastern Mediterranean that is seeking a solution to current unsustainable fish aquaculture involving sponges.



Currently, fish mariculture in floating cages is an unsustainable practice, with high stocking densities polluting various locations around the Mediterranean including Turkey. This requires a revolutionary change of perspective on the practise of fish culture. Since sponges are great filter feeders, we could use their ability to filter out fish waste products and excessive fish feed. In turn, sponges might grow better under fish cages due to higher food availability and could serve as a raw pipeline for biomedically relevant compounds such as collagen.

Aim and method

The aim of this project is analysing pumping behaviour and filtration efficiency of the Mediterranean sponge Chondrosia reniformis for the purpose of remediating polluted environments, and to develop a sustainable culture method for a raw sponge collagen pipeline to be used in biomedical applications. The project involves in situ measurements for calculating sponge filtration efficiencies under different turbidity conditions and a culture study at pristine and polluted locations for the purpose of eliminating fish farm waste. This project is an excellent opportunity for those seeking to be part of an IMTA research which pursues a more sustainable approach to finfish culture.  

Used practical skills

  • SCUBA diving
  • Field work under water (basic construction of sponge culture materials, sponge filtration measurements, sampling of spponges, water, sediment) and acompanying tasks (planning dives, driving motor boats, filling tanks, driving, etc.)
  • Depending on the chosen subject; functional ecology, mariculture or molecular ecology
  • The period of field work is between April 1st to OCtober 30th


  • 30 logged dives and at least PADI Advance or Rescue diver certification or equivalent before commencing field work
  • Interest in marine ecology and/or sponges, mariculture
  • You would work on two different locations: Bodrum (tourism and mariculture center of the Eastern Mediterranean) as the polluted location and Kas (stunning mountainous coastal town with lots of extreme sports) as the pristine location
  • Strong motivation and an independent attitude are important
  • You will need to cover travel and accommodation costs yourself. We can support you acquiring funding from third parties and you will be able to use diving facilities & boats, use of office and cars within the project funds & partners support
  • There are two parts to this study which nicely complement each other, so you are encouraged to apply in pairs

To apply, please send your CV and motivation letter to