Alumni Profile: Aaron Watson

May 11, 2016

Current title/place of employment: Assistant Marine Scientist, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Charleston, South Carolina
Degree/area of study/year of graduation: Ph.D., Aquaculture Nutrition, 2013
Adviser: Allen Place, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology

Al Place and his student, Aaron Watson, hold some of the fish meal they created in their effort to change the diet of fish raised in aquaculture.

What do you do in your current job? I work on several projects including fishmeal and fish oil replacement for red drum, utilization of metabolomics, lipidomics, and transcriptomics to improve nutrition, stress response and programming in juvenile fish, and qPCR detection of invasive parasites.

What inspires you about your work? Every project is different so even though we use similar tools throughout the year, day-to-day activities and objectives are always changing.

How did UMCES prepare you for your career? Working at IMET and with Dr. Place taught me to think independently, pursue interesting or unique results, how to improve my writing and especially how to establish and build collaborations.

What’s your advice for current and prospective students? Join the national or international society for your field of research (WAS, USAS, ACS, AFS, etc), go to the annual conferences and give presentations (not just posters), and join the student activities committee and take an office on the student committee if you can. I would not have met half the people I now collaborate with in the field nor would I have the job I have now if I had not been at annual meetings and involved with the student activities committee of the United States Aquaculture Society.