Postal address:
Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center, Department of Animal Sciences and Aquatic Ecology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering – Blok F, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Gent, Belgium

Contact person:
Gilbert Van Stappen 

Brief description of involvement in Artemia activities or plans:
The Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center (ARC) focuses on the production and use of larval feed and on the mitigation of unpredictable and large mortality in the larval phase of aquaculture species, with Artemia being in general the target organism in these research lines.

As for the use of larval feed, and specifically live food in aquaculture, ARC research focuses both on production and at application aspects of Artemia. For the former, the research, conducted either in laboratory conditions or in the field, addresses firstly population/strain study of Artemia resources from natural hypersaline ecosystems such as inland salt lakes, and the related Artemia biology, ecology and biodiversity, ultimately aiming at optimal and sustainable exploitation of natural Artemia resources. Furthermore ARC has expertise in studying and optimizing production parameters, with emphasis on management of primary production, in man-managed coastal saltworks used for production of Artemia biomass and cysts. As for Artemia applications, ARC has expertise in demand-driven Artemia market developments, such as in the field of bio-encapsulation. 

To mitigate mortality in the larval phase of aquaculture species, ARC focuses on the development of novel techniques to control the composition of the microbial community or its activity, within larviculture production units, often using Artemia as a test organism, and this is done using a variety of tools. In order to study host-microbe interactions under rigorous experimental conditions, gnotobiotic culture conditions are used for the target organisms under study, allowing for total control over the microbial community composition. This so-called gnotobiotic Artemia toolbox has been proven successful, allowing to look for example at in vivo bacterial gene expression and host gene expression. Other research lines in the field of microbial management use for example quorum sensing associated with microbial activity, or specific compounds, for example organic acids such as polyhydroxy-butyric acid, to steer the microbial community composition, or specific putative immunostimulants such as yeast cell wall mutants and heat shock proteins (inducers) to increase the robustness of the host by favourably influencing the immune system. 


For the purpose of these studies, ARC maintains a unique Artemia cyst collection of > 2000 samples, belonging to several hundreds of strains. To further support the research on Artemia, in more recent years the laboratory has heavily invested in the genome sequence of Artemia, an effort that has now resulted in the availability of an annotated Artemia genome, to be valorized as a tool for more in-depth study of various aspects of Artemia biology and applications.

Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center Weblink


Most important Artemia-related papers/books:

Abatzopoulos T.J., Beardmore J.A., Clegg J.S., Sorgeloos P. (eds) 2002. Artemia: basic and applied biology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, 286 pp., ISBN 1-4020-0746-9 

De Vos S., Van Stappen G., Sorgeloos P., Vuysteke M., Rombauts S., Bossier P. 2019. Identification of salt stress response genes using the Artemia transcriptome. Aquaculture 100: 305-314.

Restricted access;


Dung N.V., Christiaens O., Van Bao D.L., De Vos S, MacRae T.H., Smagghe G., Bossier P. 2019. Identification of RNAi-related genes and transgenerational efficiency of RNAi in Artemia franciscana. Aquaculture 501: 285-292

Restricted access;


Lavens P., Sorgeloos P. 1987. The cryptobiotic state of Artemia cysts, its diapause deactivation and hatching: a review: p. 27-63. In: Artemia research and its applications. Vol. 3. Ecology, Culturing, Use in Aquaculture. Sorgeloos, P.; Bengtson, D.A.; Decleir, W.; Jaspers, E. (Eds). Universa Press, Wetteren, Belgium, 556 p.


Lavens P., Sorgeloos P. (eds) 1996. Manual on the production and use of live food for aquaculture.

FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 361, Rome, Italy, 295 pp., ISBN 92-5-103934-8.


Lavens P., Sorgeloos P. 2000. The history, present status and prospects of the availability of Artemia cysts for aquaculture. Aquaculture 181: 397–403

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Lopes-dos-Santos R., De Troch M., Bossier P., Van Stappen G. 2019. Archivory in hypersaline aquatic environments: Haloarchaea as a dietary source for the brine shrimp Artemia. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 95(12) 

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Norouzitallab P., Baruah K., Vandegehuchte M., Van Stappen G., Catania F., Vanden Bussche J., Vanhaecke L., Sorgeloos P., Bossier P. 20104. Environmental heat stress induces epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of robustness in parthenogenetic Artemia model. The FASEB Journal 28: 3552-3563.

Restricted access;


Sorgeloos P., Dhert P., Candreva P. 2001. Use of the brine shrimp, Artemia spp., in marine fish larviculture.
Aquaculture, 200: 147-159

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Sorgeloos P., Roubach, R. 2021. Past, present and future scenarios for SDG-aligned brine shrimp Artemia aquaculture. FAO Aquaculture Newsletter, 63: 55-56


Van Stappen G., Sui L., Hoa N.V., Tamtin M., Nyonje B., de Medeiros Rocha R., Sorgeloos P., Gajardo G. 2020. Review on integrated production of the brine shrimp Artemia in solar salt ponds. Reviews in Aquaculture 12: 1054–1071 

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