Ian A.E. Butts

Assistant Professor

School of Fisheries, Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences

(334) 844-9407 



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203B Swingle Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • 2010 Ph.D., Biology – University of New Brunswick, Canada
  • 2006 M.S., Biology – University of New Brunswick, Canada
  • 2002 B.S., Marine Biology – University of New Brunswick, Canada


  • Jan. 2017 – Present Assistant Professor, Auburn University
  • March 2016 – Dec. 2016 Senior Research Scientist, Technical University of Denmark
  • Dec 2012 – Feb. 2016 Research Scientist, Technical University of Denmark
  • Dec. 2010 – Dec. 2012 Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation post-doctoral fellow, University of Windsor


  • 2014 Best student poster award at Aquaculture Europe 2014 (Spain) * this research was completed by my MSc student
  • 2013-15 National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF)
  • 2010-12 Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) postdoctoral fellowship
  • 2008-11 National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PGS D3 scholarship
  • 2007-10 Marguerite and Murray Vaughan Graduate Fellowship for research in the field of marine science and conservation,
    University of New Brunswick, Canada
  • 2009-10 Dr. John S. Little International Study Fellowship, University of New Brunswick, Canada
  • 2008-09 University of New Brunswick Board of Governors merit award for graduate studies, University of New Brunswick, Canada
  • 2007 Aquaculture Association of Canada student scholarship
  • 2007 Best student oral presentation at the Atlantic Provinces Council of the Sciences (APICS) Aquaculture Conference,
    N.B. Canada


  • European Aquaculture Society
  • World Aquaculture Society
  • Member of the Aquaculture Association of Canada



In terms of research, my long-term objective is to support the development of sustainable aquaculture, fisheries management, and conservation biology. To accomplish this I take an interdisciplinary approach to test hypotheses in reproductive biology and physiology of aquatic species, with the ultimate goal of understanding and controlling processes that impact gamete quality and offspring performance. Within this regard our work revolves around three main research themes:

  • Applied reproductive physiology: understand and control gametogenesis, gamete physiology, fertilization, and embryonic development for species of commercial importance, and identify factors regulating these processes.
  • Gamete cryopreservation: develop cutting-edge techniques to cryopreserve genetic resources (i.e. create a “germplasm repository”) for conservation breeding efforts that may be needed in the future for commercially important or endangered species
  • Sexual selection and the evolution of gamete interactions: quantify the relative importance of reproductive traits, sperm competition, and gamete interactions in shaping fertilization dynamics and the evolution of sexual characteristics



  • FISH 5240 – Hatchery Management
  • FISH 6240 – Hatchery Management



  • Siddique, M.A.M., Linhart, O., Krejszeff, S., Zarski, D., Pitcher, T.E., Politis, S.N., & Butts, I.A.E. 2017. Paternal identity impacts embryonic development for two species of freshwater fish. General and Comparative Endocrinology, In Press
  • Siddique, M.A.M., Butts, I.A.E., Diez Macias, A., Linhart, O., & Fauvel C. 2017. Fertilization strategies for Sea Bass Dicentrarchus labrax (Linnaeus, 1758): Effects of pre-incubation and duration of egg receptivity in seawater. Aquaculture Research, 48: 386-394
  • Siddique, M.A.M., Linhart, O., Kujawa, K., Krejszeff, S., & Butts, I.A.E. 2016. Composition of seminal plasma and ovarian fluid in Ide Leuciscus idus and Northern pike Esox lucius. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 51: 960-969
  • Støttrup, J.G., Tomkiewicz, J., Jacobsen C., Butts, I.A.E., Holst, L.K., Krüger-Johnsen, M., Graver, C., Lauesen, P., Fontagné-Dicharry, S., Corraze, G., Heinsbroek, L.T.N., & Kaushik, S. 2016. Development of broodstock diet to improve developmental competence of embryos in European eel, Anguilla anguilla. Aquaculture Nutrition 22, 725-737
  • Butts, I.A.E., Sorensen, S.R., Politis, S.N., & Tomkiewicz, J. 2016. First-feeding by European eel larvae: a step towards closing the life cycle in captivity. Aquaculture 464, 451-458
  • Siddique, M.A.M., Butts, I.A.E., Cosson, J., & Linhart, O. 2016. First report on facultative parthenogenetic activation of eggs in sterlet sturgeon, Acipenser ruthenus. Animal Reproduction Science 168, 110-115
  • Sørensen, S.R., Tomkiewicz, J., Munk, P., Butts, I.A.E., Lauesen, P., & Nielsen, A. 2016. Ontogenetic growth and development of early life stages in captive-bred European eel. Aquaculture 456, 50-61
  • Siddique, M.A.M., Krejszeff, S., Zarski, D., Linhart O., & Butts, I.A.E. 2016. Effects of pre-incubation of eggs and activation medium on the percentage of eyed embryos in ide (Leuciscus idus), an externally fertilizing fish. Theriogenology 85, 849-855
  • Sørensen, S.R., Butts, I.A.E., Munk, P., & Tomkiewicz, J. 2016. Effects of salinity and sea salt type on egg activation fertilisation, buoyancy and early embryology of European eel, Anguilla anguilla. Zygote 24, 121-138
  • Dahlke, F.T., Politis, S.N., Butts, I.A.E., Trippel, E.A., & Peck, M.A. 2016. Fathers modify thermal reaction norms for embryo survival in Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 474, 148-155
  • Rozenfeld, C., Butts, I.A.E., Tomkiewicz, J., Mazurais, D., &  Zambonino, J. 2016. Abundance of specific mRNA transcripts impacts hatching success in European eel, Anguilla anguilla L. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 191, 59-65
  • Siddique, M.A.M., Butts, I.A.E., Psenicka, M., & Linhart O. 2015. Effects of pre-incubation of eggs in fresh water and varying sperm concentration on fertilization rate in sterlet sturgeon, Acipenser ruthenus. Animal Reproduction Science 159, 141–147
  • Butts, I.A.E., Ben Khemis, I., & Litvak, M.K. 2015. Receptivity of winter flounder larvae to artificial diet from the yolk-sac stage to metamorphosis. Aquaculture International 23, 895-901
  • Johnson, K., Butts, I.A.E., Smith, J.L., Wilson, C., & Pitcher, T.E. 2015. The effects of inbreeding on sperm quality traits in captive-bred lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 31 (Suppl. 1), 62-70
  • Golshan, M., Hatef, A., Socha, M., Milla, S., Butts, I.A.E., Carnevali, O., Rodina, M., Sokołowska-Mikołajczyk, M., Fontaine, P., Linhart, O., & Alavi, S.M.H. 2015. Di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate disrupts pituitary and testicular hormonal functions to reduce sperm quality in mature goldfish. Aquatic Toxicology 163, 16-26
  • Butts, I.A.E., Baeza, R., Støttrup, J.G., Krüger-Johnsen, M., Jacobsen, C., Pérez, L., Asturiano, J.F., & Tomkiewicz, J. 2015. Impact of dietary fatty acids on muscle composition, liver lipids, milt composition and sperm performance in male European eel. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A 183, 87–96
  • Politis, S.N., Butts, I.A.E., & Tomkiewicz, J. 2014. Light impacts embryonic and early larval development in the European eel. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 461, 407-415
  • Politis, S.N., Dahlke, F.T., Butts, I.A.E., Peck, M.A., & Trippel, E.A. 2014. The influence of temperature, paternity and asynchronous hatching on developmental characteristics of Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua L. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 459, 70-79
  • Butts, I.A.E., Sørensen, S.R., Politis, S.N., Pitcher, T.E., & Tomkiewicz, J. 2014. Standardization of fertilization protocols for the European eel. Aquaculture 426-427, 9-13
  • Trippel, E.A., Butts, I.A.E., Babin, A., Neil, S., Feindel, N., & Benfey, T.J. 2014. Effects of reproduction on growth and survival in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 451, 35-43
  • Sørensen, S.R., Gallego, V., Pérez, L., Butts, I.A.E., Tomkiewicz, J., & Asturiano, J.F. 2013. Evaluation of methods to determine sperm density for the European eel, Anguilla anguilla. Reproduction in Domestic Animals 48, 936-944
  • Butts, I.A.E., Alavi, S.M.H., Mokdad, A., & Pitcher, T.E. 2013. Physiological functions of osmolality and calcium ions on the initiation of sperm motility and swimming performance in redside dace, Clinostomus elongates. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 166, 147-157
  • Kroll, M.M., Peck, M.A., Butts, I.A.E., & Trippel, E.A. 2013. Paternal effects on early life history traits in Northwest Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 29, 623-629
  • Johnson, K., Butts, I.A.E., Wilson, C., & Pitcher, T.E. 2013. Sperm quality of hatchery-reared lake trout Salvelinus namaycush throughout the spawning season. North American Journal of Aquaculture 75, 102-108
  • Butts, I.A.E., Mokdad, A., Trippel, E.A., & Pitcher, T.E. 2013. Development of a sperm cryopreservation protocol for redside dace, Clinostomus elongatus: implications for genome resource banking. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 142, 671-680
  • Galvano, P.M., Johnson, K., Wilson, C.C., Pitcher, T.E., & Butts, I.A.E. 2013. Short communication: Ovarian fluid influences sperm performance traits in lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush. Reproductive Biology 13, 172-175
  • Flannery, E.W., Butts, I.A.E., Słowińska, M., Ciereszko, A., & Pitcher, T.E. 2013. Reproductive investment patterns, sperm characteristics, and seminal plasma physiology in alternative reproductive tactics of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 108, 99–108
  • Butts, I.A.E., Johnson, K., Wilson, C., & Pitcher, T.E. 2012. Ovarian fluid enhances sperm velocity based on relatedness in lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush. Theriogenology 78, 2105-2109
  • Butts, I.A.E., Roustaian, P., & Litvak, M.K. 2012. Fertilization strategies for winter flounder: effects of spermatozoa density and the duration of gamete receptivity. Aquatic Biology 16, 115-124
  • Butts, I.A.E., Love, O.P., Farwell, M., & Pitcher, T.E. 2012. Primary and secondary sexual characters in alternative reproductive tactics of Chinook salmon: Associations with androgens and the maturation-inducing steroid. General and Comparative Endocrinology 175, 449-456
  • Butts, I.A.E., Ward, M.A.R., Litvak, M.K., Pitcher, T.E., Alavi, S.M.H., Trippel, E.A., & Rideout, R.M. 2011. Technical note: Automated sperm head morphology analyzer for open-source software. Theriogenology 76, 1756-1761
  • Butts, I.A.E., Feindel, N., Neil, S., Kovács, É., Urbányi, B., & Trippel, E.A. 2011. Cryopreservation of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) sperm in large volume straws: Applications for commercial production and gene banking. Aquaculture Research 42, 1714-1722
  • Butts, I.A.E., Trippel, E.A., Ciereszko, A., Soler, C., Słowińska, M., Alavi, S.M.H., Litvak, M.K., & Babiak, I. 2011. Seminal plasma biochemistry and spermatozoa characteristics of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.) of wild and cultivated origin. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 159, 16-24
  • Alavi, S.M.H., Butts, I.A.E., Hatef, A., Babiak, I., Mommens, M., Trippel, E.A., & Litvak, M.K. 2011. Sperm morphology, seminal plasma composition, ATP content and analysis of sperm motility and flagellar wave parameters in Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus L.). Canadian Journal of Zoology 89, 219-228
  • Butts, I.A.E., Babiak, I., Ciereszko, A., Litvak, M.K., Słowińska, M., Soler, C., & Trippel, E.A. 2011. Semen characteristics and their ability to predict sperm cryopreservation potential of Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua L. Theriogenology 75, 1290-1300
  • Hatef, A., Alavi, S.M.H., Butts, I.A.E., Policar, T., & Linhart, O. 2011. The mechanism of action of mercury on sperm morphology, ATP content and motility in Perca fluviatilis (Perciade: Teleostei). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 30, 905-914
  • Butts, I.A.E., Litvak, M.K., Kaspar, V., & Trippel, E.A. 2010. Cryopreservation of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua L. spermatozoa: Effects of extender composition and freezing rate on sperm motility, velocity, and morphology. Cryobiology 61, 174-181
  • Butts, I.A.E., Rideout, R.M., Burt, K., Samuelson, S., Lush, L., Litvak, M.K., Trippel, E.A., & Hamoutene, D. 2010. Quantitative semen parameters of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and their physiological relationships with sperm activity and morphology. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 26, 756-762
  • Butts, I.A.E., Litvak, M.K., & Trippel, E.A. 2010. Seasonal variations in seminal plasma and sperm characteristics of wild-caught and cultivated Atlantic cod Gadus morhua. Theriogenology 73, 873-885
  • Purchase, C.F., Butts, I.A.E., Alonso-Fernández, A., & Trippel, E.A. 2010. Thermal reaction norms in sperm performance of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 67, 498-510
  • Butts, I.A.E., Trippel, E.A., & Litvak, M.K. 2009. The effect of sperm to egg ratio and gamete contact time on fertilization success in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua L. Aquaculture 286, 89-94
  • Rideout, R.M., Butts, I.A.E., & Litvak, M. K. 2008. Cryopreservation of winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) spermatozoa. In: Cabrita, E., Robles, V., Herraez, P. (Editors), Methods in Reproductive Aquaculture. CRC Press
  • Butts, I.A.E., & Litvak, M.K. 2007. Parental and stock effects on embryo and early larval development of winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus). Journal of Fish Biology 70, 1070-1087
  • Butts, I.A.E., & Litvak, M.K. 2007. Parental and stock effects on larval morphological development and survival to metamorphosis in winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus). Aquaculture 269, 339-348