A/Prof. Luis Afonso



Associate Professor of Marine Sciences


Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env


School of Life & Env. Sciences


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, Univ. of British Columbia, 1997


+61 3 556 33461

Biography summary

Dr. Luis Afonso is a fish physiologist with an interest in fish health (stress) and reproduction. Luis completed an MSc degree at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil – 1992) on sex reversal in fish, and a PhD at the University of British Columbia (Canada - 1997) on reproductive endocrinology of Pacific salmon.
After his PhD, Luis took on an associate professor position at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (1997-2000), and he worked closely with the aquaculture industry on research and development projects aimed at producing monosex population of Nile tilapia.
Luis returned to Canada in 2000 to take on a Visiting Scientist position with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to work on the effects of environmental pollutants during sexual development in fish. In 2001 he joined the National Research Council of Canada, Institute for Marine Biosciences (Halifax-Canada) where he developed a research program on stress in fish. From 2009-2012, Luis took up a Senior Research position with the BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences (Campbell River-Canada) to work on fish health.
For the past 15 years, Luis has been working closely not only with his colleagues at academia but also with the private sector, as he thinks that an interdisciplinary team based approach is vital for understanding, maintaining, and advancing  our knowledge in life sciences.

Career highlights

Senior Lecturer in Marine Sciences, Deakin University, Australia, 2012-present
Senior Research Scientist, BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences, Canada, 2009-2012
Research and Development, Genome Atlantic, Canada, 2007-2009.
Research Officer, National Research Council Canada (NRC), Canada, 2001-2007
Visiting Scientist in Canadian Government Laboratory, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canada, 2000-2001
Associate Professor, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul,  Brazil, 1997-2000

Adjunct Appointments
• Adjunct Professor (2009-2012) Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC, Canada.
• Adjunct Professor (2004-2007) Memorial University of Newfoundland, Ocean   Science Centre, St. John’s, NL, Canada.
• Adjunct Professor (2000-2004) Department of Animal Science, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.

Research interests

- Fish and invertebrate stress, health, diseases, and welfare
- Stress response to environmental and aquaculture-related stressors: thermal stress, hypoxia, environmental toxicants, crowding, transportation and harvesting
- Individual variation in stress response
- Heath-shock proteins, enzymes involved in the synthesis of corticosteroids (StAR, P450scc, 3β-HSD) cortisol bound and free, glucose, lactate, and glycogen, expression of immune-related genes, sex steroid hormones
- Genomics, proteomics and metabolomics
- Fish reproductive endocrinology, sex differentiation, and sex reversal
- Marine and freshwater finfish and shellfish, aquaculture
- Recreational fishing: stress and welfare
- Stress and nutrition
- Development of biomarkers of stress and health
- Development of diagnostic techniques using genomic approaches

Teaching interests

Animal physiology, cell biology, endocrionology, stress physiology, reproduction, aquaculture

Units taught

SLE111 - Cells and genes

SLE254 - Genetics (practicals)

SLE315 - Comparative animal physiology (selected topics)

SLE329 - Aquatic animal  health and reproduction

Knowledge areas

Fish physiology, endocrinology,  reproduction, stress, health, aquaculture, molecular biology, sex reversal, sex control, fish welfare

Professional activities

Reviewer for academic journals and funding agencies
• Aquaculture, Aquaculture Reviews, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, Fish and Shellfish Immunology, General and Comparative Endocrinology, Journal of Fish Biology, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, North American Journal of Aquaculture, Journal of Aquaculture Research and Development.
• Reviewer for granting agencies in Canada (NSERC) and Brazil (CNPq, CAPES, FAPERGS).
• USDA, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Small Business Innovation Research.


Awards and Academic Achievements
• British Columbia Aquaculture and Environment Innovation Award – (British Columbia Innovation Council (April 2009 – January 2012), Research Chair in Aquaculture and Environment.
• Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada - NSERC (September 2000 - August 2001),Visiting Scientist in Canadian Government Laboratory.
• Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Association of Graduate Studies in Animal Science (September 2000), Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies Administration.
• Brazilian Society of Animal Sciences (1998-1999), General Secretary of the XXXVI Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society of Animal Science - Porto Alegre, Brazil.
• Brazilian National Research Council - CNPq (August 1998 - August 2000), Award for Excellence in Research.
• Brazilian National Research Council - CNPq (1994-1997), Award for PhD degree.
• Brazilian Coordenadoria de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - CAPES (1990-1992), Award for MSc degree.


Filter by


Characterization of smoltification in the Tasmanian strain of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in recirculation and flow-through systems

C van Rijn, P Jones, B Evans, C Huynh, S McCormick, L Afonso

(2020), Vol. 516, pp. 1-10, Aquaculture, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


New insights of inhibins in ovarian physiology of fish

Irshad Ahmad, Irfan Bhat, Dhanashree Jagtap, C Selvaa Kumar, S Ferosekhan, Luis Afonso

(2020), pp. 1-13, Reviews in fisheries science and aquaculture, Abingdon, Eng., C1


Chronic exposure to increased water temperature reveals few impacts on stress physiology and growth responses in juvenile Atlantic salmon

J Tromp, P Jones, M Brown, J Donald, P Biro, L Afonso

(2018), Vol. 495, pp. 196-204, Aquaculture, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


The physiology of saltwater acclimation in large juvenile Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

Morgan Brown, Paul Jones, Jared Tromp, Christian van Rijn, Robert Collins, Luis Afonso

(2018), Vol. 93, pp. 540-549, Journal of fish biology, Chichester, England, C1


Effects of commercial diets and temperature on the growth performance and stress response of hapuku (Polyprion oxygeneios)

J Tromp, P Jones, J Symonds, S Walker, A Pope, S Pether, L Afonso

(2016), Vol. 452, pp. 128-133, Aquaculture, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Long-term epidemiological survey of Kudoa thyrsites (Myxozoa) in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) from commercial aquaculture farms

W Marshall, A Sitj-Bobadilla, H Brown, T MacWilliam, Z Richmond, H Lamson, D Morrison, L Afonso

(2016), Vol. 39, pp. 929-946, Journal of fish diseases, Chichester, Eng., C1


Effects of thermal stressors on growth-related gene expressions in cutured fish

T Nakano, M Kameda, T Yamaguchi, M Sato, L Afonso, G Iwama, R Devlin

(2015), pp. 147-157, Marine productivity: perturbations and resilience of socio-ecosystems : proceedings of the 15th French-Japanese Oceanography Symposium, Berlin, Germany, B1


Transcriptome analysis of neoplastic hemocytes in soft-shell clams Mya arenaria: Focus on cell cycle molecular mechanism

A Siah, P McKenna, F Berthe, L Afonso, J Danger

(2013), Vol. 3, pp. 95-103, Results in Immunology, C1


Acute physiological stress down-regulates mRNA expressions of growth-related genes in Coho salmon

T Nakano, L Afonso, B Beckman, G Iwama, R Devlin

(2013), Vol. 8, PLoS ONE, C1


Inter-individual and -family differences in the cortisol responsiveness of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)

T Hori, A Gamperl, C Hastings, G Voort, J Robinson, S Johnson, L Afonso

(2012), Vol. 324-325, pp. 165-173, Aquaculture, C1-1


The mRNA expression of cortisol axis related genes differs in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) categorized as high or low responders

T Hori, M Rise, S Johnson, L Afonso, A Gamperl

(2012), Vol. 175, pp. 311-320, General and Comparative Endocrinology, C1-1


Use of ultraviolet C (UVC) radiation to inactivate infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) in fish processing plant effluent

L Afonso, Z Richmond, A Eaves, J Richard, L Hawley, K Garver

(2012), Vol. 3, pp. 1-5, Journal of aquaculture research and development, Los Angeles, Calif., C1-1


Heat-shock responsive genes identified and validated in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) liver, head kidney and skeletal muscle using genomic techniques

T Hori, A Gamperl, L Afonso, S Johnson, S Hubert, J Kimball, S Bowman, M Rise

(2010), Vol. 11, BMC Genomics, C1-1


Is permethylation strategy always applicable to protein N-glycosylation study?: A case study on the O-acetylation of sialic acid in fish serum glycans.

X Liu, L Afonso

(2010), Vol. 600, pp. 259-268, Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), B1-1


1H-NMR and mass spectrometric characterization of the metabolic response of juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) to long-term handling stress

T Karakach, E Huenupi, E Soo, J Walter, L Afonso

(2009), Vol. 5, pp. 123-137, Metabolomics, C1-1


Hemoglobin genotype has minimal influence on the physiological response of juvenile atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) to environmental challenges

A Gamperl, C Busby, T Hori, L Afonso, J Hall

(2009), Vol. 82, pp. 483-494, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, C1-1


Physiological stress responses in the warm-water fish matrinx (Brycon amazonicus) subjected to a sudden cold shock

L Inoue, G Moraes, G Iwama, L Afonso

(2008), Vol. 38, pp. 603-609, Acta Amazonica, C1-1


Impairment of the stress response in matrinx juveniles (Brycon amazonicus) exposed to low concentrations of phenol

T Hori, I Avilez, G Iwama, S Johnson, G Moraes, L Afonso

(2008), Vol. 147, pp. 416-423, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Toxicology and Pharmacology, C1-1


O-acetylation of sialic acids in N-glycans of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salai) serum is altered by handling stress

X Liu, L Afonso, E Altman, S Johnson, L Brown, J Li

(2008), Vol. 8, pp. 2849-2857, Proteomics, C1-1


The immune and stress responses of Atlantic cod to long-term increases in water temperature

J Prez-Casanova, M Rise, B Dixon, L Afonso, J Hall, S Johnson, A Gamperl

(2008), Vol. 24, pp. 600-609, Fish and Shellfish Immunology, C1-1


Cortisol response and immune-related effects of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar Linnaeus) subjected to short- and long-term stress

M Fast, S Hosoya, S Johnson, L Afonso

(2008), Vol. 24, pp. 194-204, Fish and Shellfish Immunology, C1-1


The stress and metabolic responses of juvenile Atlantic cod Gadus morhua L. to an acute thermal challenge

J Prez-Casanova, L Afonso, S Johnson, S Currie, A Gamperl

(2008), Vol. 72, pp. 899-916, Journal of Fish Biology, C1-1


Lack of glucose and hsp70 responses in haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus (L.) subjected to handling and heat shock

L Afonso, S Hosoya, J Osborne, A Gamperl, S Johnson

(2008), Vol. 72, pp. 157-167, Journal of Fish Biology, C1-1


Impairment of the stress response in matrinx juveniles (Brycon amazonicus) exposed to low concentrations of phenol

Tiago Hori, Ive Avilez, George Iwama, Stewart Johnson, Gilberto Moraes, Luis Afonso

(2008), Vol. 147, pp. 416-423, Comparative biochemistry and physiology part C: toxicology and pharmacology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1


Effects of moderately oxidized dietary lipid and the role of vitamin E on the stress response in Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus L.)

D Alves Martins, L Afonso, S Hosoya, L Lewis-McCrea, L Valente, S Lall

(2007), Vol. 272, pp. 573-580, Aquaculture, C1-1


Changes in free and total plasma cortisol levels in juvenile haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) exposed to long-term handling stress

S Hosoya, S Johnson, G Iwama, A Gamperl, L Afonso

(2007), Vol. 146, pp. 78-86, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology, C1-1


Triploid and diploid rainbow trout do not differ in their stress response to transportation

R Leggatt, K Scheer, L Afonso, G Iwama

(2006), Vol. 68, pp. 1-8, North American Journal of Aquaculture, C1-1


Stress in fish

G Iwama, L Afonso, M Vijayan

(2006), pp. 320-342, Physiology of fishes, Boca Raton, Flo., B1-1


Effects of clove oil on the stress response of matrinx (Brycon cephalus) subjected to transport

Lus Inoue, Lus Afonso, George Iwama, Gilberto Moraes

(2005), Vol. 35, pp. 289-295, Acta Amazonica, C1-1


Stress response of juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to chemical cues released from stressed conspecifics

D Toa, L Afonso, G Iwama

(2004), Vol. 30, pp. 103-108, Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, C1-1


Are hsps suitable for indicating stressed states in fish?

G Iwama, L Afonso, A Todgham, P Ackerman, K Nakano

(2004), Vol. 207, pp. 15-19, Journal of Experimental Biology, C1-1


Sex reversal in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus Linnaeus) by androgen immersion

G Wassermann, L Afonso

(2003), Vol. 34, pp. 65-71, Aquaculture Research, C1-1


Sex-related differences in the organismal and cellular stress response in juvenile salmon exposed to treated bleached kraft mill effluent

L Afonso, N Basu, K Nakano, R Devlin, G Iwama

(2003), Vol. 29, pp. 173-179, Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, C1-1


Y-chromosomal DNA markers for discrimination of chemical substance and effluent effects on sexual differentiation in Salmon

L Afonso, J Smith, M Ikonomou, R Devlin

(2002), Vol. 110, pp. 881-887, Environmental Health Perspectives, C1-1


Tecnica simples de marcacao externa de reprodutores de tilapia nilotica (Oreochromis niloticus)

E Leboute, L Afonso, M Rotta

(2002), Vol. 32, pp. 147-149, Cincia rural, Santa Maria, Brasil, C1-1



Gustavo Wassermann, Lus Afonso

(2002), Vol. 32, pp. 133-139, Cincia Rural, C1-1


Sex reversal in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) using a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor

L Afonso, G Wassermann, R De Oliveira

(2001), Vol. 290, pp. 177-181, Journal of Experimental Zoology, C1-1


Tecnica simples para identificacao de femeas de tilapia nilotica (Oreochromis niloticus) realizando incubacao oral dos ovos

M Rotta, L Afonso

(2001), Vol. 31, pp. 521-522, Cincia rural, Santa Maria, Brasil, C1-1


Effects of the aromatase inhibitor Fadrozole on reproductive steroids and spermiation in male coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) during sexual maturation

L Afonso, G Iwama, J Smith, E Donaldson

(2000), Vol. 188, pp. 175-187, Aquaculture, C1-1


Effects of the aromatase inhibitor Fadrozole on plasma sex steroid secretion and oocyte maturation in female coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) during vitellogenesis

L Afonso, G Iwama, J Smith, E Donaldson

(1999), Vol. 20, pp. 231-241, Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, C1-1


Effects of the aromatase inhibitor Fadrozole on plasma sex steroid secretion and ovulation rate in female coho salmon, oncorhynchus kisutch, close to final maturation

L Afonso, G Iwama, J Smith, E Donaldson

(1999), Vol. 113, pp. 221-229, General and Comparative Endocrinology, C1-1


The effect of the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole and two polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons on sex steroid secretion by ovarian follicles of coho salmon

L Afonso, P Campbell, G Iwama, R Devlin, E Donaldson

(1997), Vol. 106, pp. 169-174, General and Comparative Endocrinology, C1-1


Method for artificial incubation of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) eggs

L Afonso, E Leboute, S Souza

(1993), Vol. 22, pp. 502-505, Revista Brasileira de zootecnia, Minas Gerais MG Brazil, C1-1


Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Sex reversal and sex differentiation in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

A/Prof Luis Afonso, Dr Paul Jones, Dr Brad Evans

FRDC Grant - Research - Fisheries Research & Development Corporation

  • 2019: $30,600
  • 2018: $30,227

Other Public Sector Funding

Stress response ofblack bream during recreational catch and release

Dr Paul Jones, A/Prof Luis Afonso

  • 2013: $15,943

Industry and Other Funding

Application and development of biochemical assays to assess smoltification in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

A/Prof Luis Afonso

  • 2014: $18,400

Effects of chronic exposure to different thermal regimens on Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) growth, stress physiology and health

A/Prof Luis Afonso, Linda Sams, Dr Christine Huynh

  • 2015: $23,000
  • 2014: $24,192

Physiological and molecular indicators to assess smoltification in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

A/Prof Luis Afonso, Dr Paul Jones, Linda Sams

  • 2017: $31,661
  • 2016: $77,838
  • 2015: $40,000


Principal Supervisor

Jared John Tromp

Thesis entitled: Long-term exposure to elevated temperature in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Doctor of Philosophy (Life & Env), School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Associate Supervisor

Matthew Jago

Thesis entitled: Seasonal environmental impacts on the productivity and nutritional status of farmed Atlantic salmon in Tasmania

Doctor of Philosophy (Life & Env), School of Life and Environmental Sciences


Michael Salini

Thesis entitled: Fatty acid metabolism in barramundi (Lates calcarifer)

Doctor of Philosophy (Life & Env), School of Life and Environmental Sciences