Skip Navigation

Faculty and Staff - Timothy Bowden

Assistant Professor of AquaculturePhoto of Tim Bowden
Address 237 Hitchner Hall
Telephone 207/ 581 2772


  • BS University of Lancaster, UK 1988
  • MPhil Napier University, Edinburgh, UK 1993
  • Ph.D. University of Aberdeen, UK 1999
  • MSc Robert Gordon University 2006


  • Bowden TJ, Bricknell IR. 2013. Management of finfish and shellfish larval health in aquaculture hatcheries. In: Advances in Aquaculture Hatchery Technology. Eds; Allen & Burnell, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, UK.
  • Bowden TJ. 2008. Modulation of the immune system of fish by their environment. Fish and Shellfish Immunology 25(4):373-383.
  • Bowden TJ, Thompson KD, Morgan AL, Gratacap RM, Nikoskelainen S. 2007. Seasonal variation and the fish immune system: a fish perspective. Fish and Shellfish Immunology. 22(6):695-706
  • Bricknell IR, Bron JE & Bowden TJ. 2006. Diseases of gadoid fish in cultivation: a review. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 63:253-266.
  • Bowden TJ, Cook P & Rombout JHWM. 2005 Development and function of the thymus in teleosts. Fish and Shellfish Immunology 19: 413-427
  • Bowden TJ, Smail DA, Ellis AE. 2002. Development of a reproducible infectious pancreatic necrosis virus challenge model for Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L. Journal of Fish Diseases 25: 555-63

Dr. Bowden is the graduate coordinator for the Marine BioResources graduate program. This program allows students to focus on areas of pure and applied research that impact aquatic species that have resource value. This includes species from both freshwater and marine environments. This program has a special focus on aquaculture species and issues.

 Courses Taught

 SMS211 – Introduction to Aquaculture.

An introduction to aquaculture is an overview of an extensive and developing area. The course looks at; what is aquaculture, why is it important, its history, the methods involved, where in the world it is carried out, the species involved, products, business issues, regulatory issues such as siting and lisensing, marketing and packaging. The course is intended to give the student a broad understand of the basic issues associated with aquaculture, preparing them for a more in depth study should they decide to continue to a concentration or minor in aquaculture that is available to any student on campus.

SMS 401 – Critical Issues in Aquaculture

This course is a tutorial course that offers a rolling program of different topics that are important within aquaculture. The course offers the chance for students to study the literature in depth, discussing particular issues associated with topics while developing their presentation skills and learning how to source information through online sources such as scientific databases. Students are actively encouraged to participate with oral and written presentations and in depth discussions. Recent subjects have included; environmental impacts on aquaculture, bacterial and viral pathogens and vaccinology

SMS422 – Biology of Fishes

Dr Bowden teaches the immunology section of this course. He covers an overview of the basic principles of vertebrate immunology with a very mammalian bias, as this is the focus of most of the information. He then matches this basic concept to our current understanding of the fish immune system, highlighting the similarities and the differences.


Dr. Bowden’s previous research areas included; vaccine development of fish using bacteria and viruses, development of challenge models in aquatic species, immunological studies of species new to aquaculture such as; halibut, cod, haddock and sharp-snout seabream, studies on alternative techniques for measuring toxicity of aquatic xenobiotics, epidemiology of viral pathogens, development of management strategies for aquaculture. He has have worked on aquaculture in the UK, Spain, Norway and USA.

Dr. Bowden’s current research interests cover a number of areas;

  • Host/pathogen interactions – how does a pathogen gain entry into an aquatic animal host and how does that host respond. He is involved with both vertebrate and invertebrate species and with bacterial, viral and parasite pathogens. He has projects looking at the oyster parasite MSX ,which has recently become an issue in Maine. Also, they are working with industry to develop novel vaccines. A major issue is whether we can develop research programs that result in changes in management strategy that help reduce or eliminate disease issues in aquacultured species and therefore improve the health and production of aquacultured animals
  • Basic immunology of aquatic animals especially invertebrate animals such as; oysters, razor clams, lobsters and seahorses. He has projects looking at basic immune function in novel species such as the razor clam and seahorse. Also, he is investigating specific immune factors such as DSCAMs and FREPs that may represent early antibody-like molecules within invertebrates, suggesting that invertebrates may have a simplified form of adaptive immunity, something that current immunological dogma says is not so.
  • Environmental impacts on aquatic animals, with a special focus on health impacts. How does an aquatic animal cope with changes in its environment such as temperature, salinity or acidity. He has a special interest in biological clocks and seasonality, an issue of specific importance to more temperate species. It is clear that animal physiology and behaviour are affected by the change in season, but how does this impact their health. How do they sense the changing season? What is the method of molecular transduction that responds to an environmental change and leads to a physiological change in the animal. He is currently have studies looking at the impacts of ocean acidification on larval lobsters and on razor clam development. He also has a program studying toll-like receptors in fish
  • Finally, he has an interest in ageing in aquatic animals. What happens when an animal ages, especially from a health and immunology point of view? Can an animal possibly recover from senescence?

Future research should use the emerging technologies such as next-generation sequencing and transcriptomics to help understand how animals react or respond to changes around them, whether those are environmental or pathogen induced.

 Student Involvement

I have considerable numbers of students involved in my research both undergraduate and graduate. From basic aquarium support to complete projects based in lab and aquaria. I have volunteers, interns, independent study students and capstones. Aquarium technicians look after my research animals on a day-to-day basis, grow live feeds (algae, rotifers and artemia) for a wide range of research species, develop production systems (seahorses – yes we had babies, and razor clams), manage large research trials (I had two junior year students manage a vaccine trial in salmon smolts). If you are interested come and talk to me, meet my current students, read my web page find out what past and current students thought of working in the Bowden lab.

I have a number of outreach programs. We have developed teacher workshops on aquaponics, placed educational aquaria in schools to help raise awareness of aquaculture, we host several 4H and similar K-12 student groups on campus. I am happy to have students present/attend at local town meetings, special interest groups and conferences



Back to Faculty and Staff