Michael Bowleg Jr – MSc Sustainable Aquaculture Systems graduate

Career and Plymouth highlights

When I completed my MSc, I wanted to integrate myself within the aquaculture industry as quickly as possible to further my skill set. I was offered a position as a Junior Aquaculture Expert at The Cape EleutheraInstitute in The Bahamas. I have focused on a collaborative project with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in designing a Caribbean Aquaculture Development Fund which is meant to drive aquaculture development in the Caribbean. I have since taken up a new role as a Seafood and Aquaculture Technician at TropicSeafood.

My career highlights

  • Working as an Aquaponics Manager and Sustainability Teacher at the Center for Sustainable Development in The Bahamas. This allowed me to be a part of community outreach programs focusing on educating the local community on principles of sustainability, sustainable food production systems such as aquaponics and permaculture and fishery related issues in The Bahamas. I worked with a semi-commercial scale aquaponics system which integrates recirculating aquaculture with hydroponics and reutilizes nutrients contained within fish feed and fish waste to grow vegetables or fruits in a sustainable and natural manner.
  • Being able to test the effectiveness of black soldier fly larvae meal as an alternative protein source in Nile tilapia diets. This gave me the opportunity to culture, process and incorporate the larvae into the aquafeed diets myself.

Why Plymouth?

I chose Plymouth because of its course reputation, quality of research and location. 

  • The close knit and small college town feel made me feel that I had the opportunity to integrate myself within the local community.
  • Having the chance to interact with top researchers in their perspective fields such Daniel Merrifield was important for me and my personal development as a young researcher.
  • Former colleagues of mine who are University of Plymouth alumni provided me with a lot of information about their experiences of the University and how it was life changing experience for them.
  • The library and support services during my dissertation research trials, lab work and write up were helpful and supportive in providing me with the resources I needed to effectively complete my studies.
  • The 24-hour access provided by the library gave me with the opportunity to utilise its resources whenever I needed.
  • Lab technicians were extremely accommodating during my periods of lab work as they provided me with the technical support to properly complete various laboratory tasks.

Favourite memories of my time at Plymouth

One of the most important lessons the University of Plymouth provided me with was the need for continued focus and resilience in completing tasks throughout the course. Whether it was during my dissertation lab work or coursework throughout the semester anytime I may have been stuck, the support system of peers and staff at the University helped me to think past the issue and come up with solutions. The additional confidence and independence I developed throughout my time at Plymouth gave me the ability to feel better equipped for my next career stages.

Being able to take part in research which is directly applicable to the aquaculture industry provided me with the knowledge and understanding of the importance of industry-impactful research. This gave me the additional motivation to pursue an aquaculture-focused PhD which would give me the capacity to conduct industry informative research.

Find out more about postgraduate study at the University of Plymouth here