Pallab Kumer Sarker
  • Title
    • Associate Research Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Environmental Studies Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Nat Sci 2 Main Building, 423 Natural Sciences 2
  • Mail Stop Environmental Studies
  • Mailing Address
    • 423 Natural Sciences 2
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064

Biography, Education and Training


Pallab Sarker is a sustainable aquaculture scientist and his research interests involve shifting aquaculture, the world’s fastest growing food sector, to sustainability by redesigning the composition of aqua-feeds because they drive life-cycle environmental effects of aquaculture, both inputs and emissions (pollution). Shifting aquafeeds to more sustainable ingredients is a key part of sustainable aquaculture. He is interested in developing ecological aquaculture principles and practices. The main focus of his current research is to develop a fish-free and crop-free aquaculture diet by combining different species of micro- and macro-algae and developing targeted biochemical manipulations to maximize the diet’s nutrient quality, economic viability, and benefits for environmental conservation. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food industry in the world, now producing more edible biomass than wild seafood for humans, making it a fundamental part of future food production. Although aquaculture contributes significantly to the animal protein consumption on a global scale, it raises important questions in the realm of sustainability science. Aquaculture is increasingly dependent on terrestrial crops (soy, corn) and wild fish (fishmeal and fish oil extracted from small ocean fish or “forage fish,” such as anchovy) for feeds—deeply unsustainable—and damaging to aquatic ecosystems. Aquafeeds now use over 70% of the world’s fishmeal and fish oil from unsustainably-sourced forage fish. Large-scale diversion and overfishing pose several environmentally unsustainable consequences. Aquafeeds also contain large amounts of soy and corn ingredients obtained from industrial farms that cause significant environmental damage, especially eutrophication of rivers, lakes and coastal waters; have deficiencies in key essential amino acids; and, for their oils, lack health-promoting long-chain Omega-3s EPA and DHA. Moreover, fish cannot fully digest phosphorus content of fishmeal, soy, and corn, and this elevates nutrient pollution in aquaculture effluents.  Dr. Sarker is on the cutting edge of research on the issue as one of very few scientists in his field dedicated to innovating a sustainable aquafeed that address both the problems of sourcing and waste streams. His ongoing projects examine the in vivo and in vitro digestibility of different marine algae/co-products and their incorporation in tilapia and salmonids feed formulae to eliminate the use of industrial crops and forage fish in aquafeed to foster environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially responsible aquaculture while assuring human health benefits of fish raised on these diets. Marine algae are excellent sources of essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids that meet the requirements of fish. He is the member of the editorial board of the Journal of Aquaculture & Marine Biology and EC Nutrition. He is a member of the manuscript review committee of 7 peer-reviewed journals.


Areas of expertise:


Sustainable aquaculture and nutrition/ Improve sustainability of aquaculture feeds/ Formulation of low-pollution feeds/ Fish and shellfish nutritional requirements/ Digestibility of feed ingredients/ Dietary nutrient interaction in fish and effects on physiology and gene expression/ Strategies to prevent off-flavors in fish. 


B.Sc. Bangladesh Agricultural University

M.S. Bangladesh Agricultural University

M.Sc. Kochi University, Japan

Ph.D. United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Japan







Selected Publications



Sarker, P.K., Kapuscinski, A.R., Bae, A.Y., Donaldson, E., Sitek, A.J., Edelson, O.F., Fitzgerald, D.F., 2018. Towards sustainable aquafeeds: Evaluating substitution of fishmeal with lipid-extracted microalgal co-product (Nannochloropsis oculata) in diets of juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). PLoS ONE 13(7): e0201315.



Shah, M.R., Lutzu, G.A., Asraful, A., Sarker P., Chowdhury, M.A.K., Parsaeimehr, A., Liang, Y., Daroch, M., 2017.  Microalgae in aquafeeds for a sustainable aquaculture industry. Journal of Applied Phycology. DOI 10.1007/s10811-017-1234-z,


Sarker, P.K., A.R. Kapuscinski, A. Lanois, E. Livesey, and K. Bernhard, M. Coley. 2016. Towards sustainable aquafeeds: complete substitution of fish oil with marine microalga Schizochytrium sp. improves growth and fatty acid deposition in juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). PLOS ONE,


Sarker, P. K., M. M. Gamble, S. Kelson, and A. R. Kapuscinski. 2015. Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) show high digestibility of lipid and fatty acids from marine Schizochytrium sp. and of protein and essential amino acids from freshwater Spirulina sp. feed ingredients. Aquaculture Nutrition (doi: 10.1111/anu.12230).


Sarker, P.K., Pilote, A., Auffret, A., Proulx, E., Villemur, R., Vandenberg, G., 2014. Reducing geosmin-associated off-flavor compounds and metabolic phosphorus waste outputs through dietary phosphorus management in rainbow trout raised in recirculating aquaculture systems. Aquaculture and Environment Interaction, 6: 105–117.


Sarker, P.K., Bureau, D.P., Drew, M., Hua, K., Forster, I., Were, K., Hicks, B., Vandenberg, G.W., 2013. Sustainability issues related to feeding salmonids: a Canadian perspective. Reviews in Aquaculture, 5: 1-21.


Sarker, P.K., Yossa, R., Karanth, S., Ekker, M., and Vandenberg, G.W., 2012. Influences of dietary biotin and avidin on growth, survival, deficiency syndrome and hepatic gene expression of juvenile Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, 38 (4): 1183-1193.


Sarker, P.K., Fournier, J., Boucher, E., Proulx, E., Noüe de al J., Vandenberg, G.W., 2011. Effects of low phosphorus ingredient combinations on weight gain, apparent digestibility coefficients, non-fecal phosphorus excretion, phosphorus retention and loading of large rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Animal Feed Science and Technology, 168: 241-249.