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Department of Zoology



David is an interdisciplinary scientist aiming to improve the health of our population and planet through innovations in sustainable nutritious seafood production. 

David’s research focusses on developing mechanisms to improve production of and facilitate demand for one of the most sustainable and nutrient-rich foods on the planet - bivalve shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters). 

Current research projects are investigating novel bivalve species and growth methodologies to improve bivalve production, testing specialised microencapsulated feeding technologies to increase bivalve quality and value, and identifying key food processing and retail levers to stimulate consumer demand.

David collaborates with major global food manufacturers and leading international NGOs. 

David supervises postgraduate research and teaches students across the biological sciences.



Food Security

Planetary Health

Human Health


Key publications: 


Willer, D.F., Aldridge, D.C., Gough, C., Kincaid, K. (2023) Small-scale octopus fishery operations enable environmentally and socioeconomically sustainable sourcing of nutrients under climate change. Nature Food.

Willer, D.F., Brian, J.I., Derrick, C.J., Walker, J., Benbow, S., Brooks, H., Hazin, C., McCarthy, A., Mukherjee, N., McOwen, C., Steadman, D. (2022). ‘Destructive fishing’—A ubiquitously used but vague term? Usage and impacts across academic research, media and policy. Fish and Fisheries, 2022;00:1–16.

Willer, D.F., Robinson, J., Patterson, G. & Luyckx, K. (2022). Maximising sustainable nutrient production from coupled fisheries-aquaculture systems. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation 1(3): e0000005.

Willer, D. F., Nicholls, R.J. & Aldridge, D. C. (2021). Opportunities and challenges for upscaled global bivalve seafood production. Nature Food, 2(12), 935-943. 

Campanati, C., Willer, D.F., Schubert, S. & Aldridge, D.C. (2021). More fish, less waste, Blue Growth: sustainable intensification of aquaculture through nutrient recycling and circular economies. Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture. 

Willer, D. F. & Aldridge, D. C. (2020). Sustainable bivalve farming can deliver food security in the tropics. Nature Food, 1(7): 384-388. 

Willer, D. F. & Aldridge, D. C. (2020). Vitamin bullets. Microencapsulated feeds to fortify shellfish and tackle human nutrient deficiencies. Frontiers in Nutrition, 7:102.

Willer, D. F., Furse, S. & Aldridge, D. C. (2020). Microencapsulated algal feeds as a sustainable replacement diet for broodstock in commercial bivalve aquaculture. Scientific Reports, 10:12577.  

Willer, D. F. & Aldridge, D. C. (2020). From pest to profit - The potential of shipworms for sustainable aquaculture. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4:575416. 

Willer, D.F., & Aldridge, D. C. (2019). Microencapsulated diets to improve bivalve shellfish aquaculture for global food security. Global Food Security, 23, 64-73.

Willer, D. F., Smith, K. & Aldridge, D. C. (2019). Matches and Mismatches Between Global Conservation Efforts and Global Conservation Priorities. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7, 297.

Willer, D., & Aldridge, D. C. (2019). Microencapsulated diets to improve growth and survivorship in juvenile European flat oysters (Ostrea edulis). Aquaculture, 505, 256-262.

Fitch, A., Orland, C., Willer, D., Emilson, E., & Tanentzap, A. J. (2018). Feasting on terrestrial organic matter: Dining in a dark lake changes microbial decomposition. Global Change Biology, 24, 5110–5122.

Willer D, Aldridge DC. (2017). Microencapsulated diets to improve bivalve shellfish aquaculture. Royal Society Open Science, 4, 171142.

Other publications: 


Interesting Stories

Small-scale octopus fisheries can provide sustainable source of vital nutrients for tropical coastal communities.

Frozen food giants look to develop farmed shellfish products. 

Swap salmon for sardines to keep four million tonnes of fish in the sea

The world’s their fish finger

Scientists supercharge shellfish to tackle vitamin deficiency in humans

The simple food that fights climate change 


Aldridge D, Arantzamendi L, Einarsson M, Keeper A, Schubert J, Willer DF, Zorita I, Campatini C. (2020). Microencapsulated diets offer new opportunities for sustainable bivalve production. Aquaculture Europe Magazine, 45:28.

Henslow Research Fellow

Contact Details

Room 3.01 David Attenborough Building
+44 (0) 7507 723137
Accepting applications for PhD students.
Available for consultancy