Our research  focuses on many aspects of reproductive biology and early life development of aquatic organisms
Sexual Selection and Gamete Interactions
Applied Reproductive Physiology 
Gamete Cryopreservation Techniques
Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 4.40_edited.jp

Goal is to understand and control gametogenesis, gamete physiology, fertilization, embryonic, and larval development for aquatic species of commercial importance, and identify factors regulating these processes.

Develop techniques to cryopreserve genetic resources (i.e. create a “germplasm repository”) for commercially important and endangered aquatic species.

Interested in gamete interactions between males and females during reproduction and how they affect next generation.

Click each picture to learn more

My name is Ian Anthony Ernest Butts and I am a Tenure Track Assistant Professor at Auburn University (Auburn, Alabama, USA) in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences. Since the start of my BSc degree in Marine Biology I have been fascinated by the earliest life stages in aquatic organisms.

This has ultimately prompted me to pursue a career in academics, so I can explore all aspects of reproductive physiology and early life history (i.e. gametes to early juveniles) in marine/freshwater species. To keep colleagues and visitors updated on our research activities we have constructed a website which highlights some of our past and current experiences in aquatic sciences. Please visit regularly as we will try to keep our website updated. For now, we wish everyone best of luck with daily endeavors and always remember

“a blank sheet of paper equals endless possibilities” Michael Scott - The Office

LAB OPENING: PhD student in reproductive physiology and hatchery science of hybrid catfish

A PhD graduate student position is available at Auburn University (start date: Jan 2021). The student will be hosted by the Aquatic Reproductive Physiology lab (P.I. Dr. Ian Anthony Ernest Butts) in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences (SFAAS).


Responsibilities and tasks

The catfish industry (largest food-fish industry in USA) has been challenged by international competitors, rising feed, and fuel costs. Management strategies are being implemented by farmers to deal with these issues. Another issue evolves around viable and inconsistent production of hybrid catfish (accounts for greater than 50% of catfish harvest) fry. Specifically, projects may focus on: (1) Cellular organization of the testis and spermatogenesis; (2) physiological and molecular mechanisms regulating sperm form and function; and (3) standardization of hybrid catfish hatchery techniques. Overall, the PhD will be expected to conduct broad research followed by the writing of a detailed dissertation. 



We are looking for a motivated candidate who has:


MSc degree in biology or a similar degree 

Knowledge of aquaculture and fish physiology


Proven ability to carry out goal-oriented work and fluent in data management systems


Lab competence in molecular biology (e.g. DNA/RNA extraction, gene expressio) and/or physiology(e.g. flow cytometry, molecular probes) would be considered an asset - please clarify your experiences in the “motivating letter”


Bioinformatic experience (programming in R, Unix) is also an asset, but can be learned within the program 


Practical husbandry experiences with aquatic organisms will be an asset

Good co-operation ability


Ability to obtain US driver’s license and vehicle, as our research station is off campus


Salary and appointment terms

This project will be carried out at the E.W. Shell Fisheries Center, which is situated in Auburn, Alabama(http://sfaas.auburn.edu/e-w-shell-fisheries-center/). The PhD salary ($19,000 + fringe benefits for 4 years) and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for graduate students. Typically, a tuition waiver is provided. The student will begin coursework and research in January 2021. 



Please submit your application no later than 10 August 2020 at 11:59 PM CDT. Applications must be e-mailed to iab0007@auburn.edu as “one” pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. The file must only include:


  • Cover letter motivating the application (please include your background, interests, goals - 1 to 2 pages)

  • Curriculum vitae with contact information (e-mail and phone numbers) for three referees  

  • Unofficial transcripts and GRE scores (refer to: https://www.ets.org/gre)


This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now