Milada Safarik with the support of the Award, achieved a world first in marine worm production for the aquaculture industry. Milada is a research scientist and one of the principals of Aquabait, the first and currently the only marine worm farm in Australia. Her vision is to support the development of a sustainable and viable new aquaculture industry for Australia, through the development of farm grown marine worm bait, and by doing so reduce the pressure on the environment, while creating new opportunities for rural enterprise and employment for rural women.
Milada’s project focused on research and development, critical to a newly emerging industry and critical also to full proofing marine worm production. Her research effort resulted in a world first in the cultivation of the marine tube worm Diopatra aciculate for the recreational bait industry and in the completion of two significant research reports.
Report 1: Density dependant growth of the polychaete Diopatra aciculata:
The study analysed how the growth of the marine tube worm is affected at different stocking densities and was important in determining the appropriate density level for highest growth rates with the best biomass return (published with the journal, Scientia Marina).
Report 2: Jaw growth and replacement in Diopatra aciculata:
The study focused in the jaw structure of the tube worm and discovered that the tube worm molts its maxillae at different periods of its lifecycle and as a result can be aged accordingly. This was previously unknown by the scientific community.
Both projects have contributed to the scientific and commercial knowledge of the tube worm Diopatra aciculate and both projects will be published in scientific journals, thereby contributing to the further development of the aquaculture industry. Both scientific reports were presented by Milada at the 8th International Polychaete Conference held in Spain in July 2004.
On a personal level, Milada says the Award and the research effort undertaken grew her knowledge and contacts within the industry, both nationally and internationally, and has increased her profile and that of Aquabait Pty Ltd.
The Award also opened up opportunities for Milada, both within and out of the industry, to participate in various conferences that were extremely valuable to her development. Aquabait’s customer base doubled in the 2003-2004 summer period as a direct result of the increased exposure the Award provided, with the first export opportunities currently under investigation.
In addition the research projects she undertook were all with the support of some very professional women that were valuable partners and scientists in the fields of marine and polychaete biology.
These relationships in turn promoted interest from students, some who were involved with the data collection of the density study of Diopatra aciculata, and who have the capacity to become the next generation of female scientists. discussed research collaborations between Newcastle university and Aquabait Pty Ltd for future research effort.