2018 Posters and Presentations

Student research posters

 

The effects of lowered pH on the productivity of fish and plants in an aquaponic system

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Anna Bride, Elliott Bussey, Hanna Hudepohl and Andrew Heiserman

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Aquaponically grown plants frequently face nutrient deficiency due to the alkaline conditions maintained. Growers often prioritize fish and microbe requirements at the expense of plant health and maturity. One way to improve subpar plant yields is to operate the system at a lowered, more favorable pH to better address plant needs. In this case, both the microbes and fish must be able to survive within the new parameters. This chapter investigates the possibility of operating an acidic aquaponic system replete with bacteria isolated from acidic soils, and blackwater fish native to the low pH waters of South America. Two tanks will be maintained at pH 6.0 and two tanks will be maintained at pH 7.5. Cardinal tetra and neon tetra fish populations will be added to each individual tank so both species can be compared across the two different pH levels. We expect that the blackwater fish will be able to support the microbe and plant populations by producing an appropriate amount of ammonia to drive nitrification. Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) will be analyzed to determine how effectively the system is utilizing nitrogen inputs. Due to the more favorable conditions, we anticipate that the parsley plants grown in the lower pH system will report higher leaf counts, greater NUE per plant, and overall improved health compared to the plants grown in the higher pH system.

Elusive catch: using aquaponics to grow sturgeon and wild rice 

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Jace Galley, Laura Mathews, Joe Ramstad and Harrison Roessler

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Emerging as an alternative source of agriculture, aquaponic and hydroponic systems are quickly becoming established across Midwestern communities. Despite this, research of aquaponic and hydroponic practitioners has not maintained the same rate of growth as the industry itself. This survey will help to fill the knowledge gap surrounding the current status of aquaponic and hydroponic professionals within the Midwest. Data collected will include demographics, system size and location, economic sustainability, as well as motives and perceptions within each industry. Due to the lack of current research this proposed study represents an unprecedented opportunity to understand the current status of these emerging industries. Analyzing this data will reveal current trends and help define the main challenges facing each industry.

Reducing external nitrogen inputs through use of alternative food sources in  aquaponics tilapia systems

PDF icon POSTER

Morgan Hardy, Heidi Schlinsog, Emily Swanson and Thor Lohn

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This proposal addresses a new concept that attempts to close the nitrogen cycle within an aquaponic system. Achieving a reduction in the amount of external nitrogen inputs through the use of internally produced alternative food sources shows potential to lessen the environmental impact of standard fish meal-based feeds. This system is environmentally beneficial because we do not have the use of chemicals and processed pellet food that must be made for the fish, this practice will be sustainable within one’s own system. The production of fish feed within the aquaponics system allows for more control of the system by using materials already at hand, as well as reducing costs incurred through obtaining external sources of N. The proposed study will take place over a duration of 12 months. During this time, duckweed (Lemna perpusilla), and mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) will be analyzed for their viability as fish feeds in comparison to a standard pelleted fish meal-based feed for blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus). 200 tilapia will be tested to collect data on the responses of these fish to 4 different food sources. Proportions of food sources tested will consist of: Tank 1- fish meal-based pellet feed only; Tank 2- 50% standard pellet and 50% duckweed feed; Tank 3- 50% standard pellet and 50% mealworm feed; and Tank 4- 50% duckweed and 50% mealworm feed. It is anticipated that this study will demonstrate that the growth of tilapia increases more rapidly with a diet of 50% plant matter and 50% insect meal, in comparison to the other treatments.

Why are aquaponics and hydroponics thriving in midwest businesses?

PDF icon POSTER

Matt Johnson and Christiana Vor

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Emerging as an alternative source of agriculture, aquaponic and hydroponic systems are quickly becoming established across Midwestern communities. Despite this, research of aquaponic and hydroponic practitioners has not maintained the same rate of growth as the industry itself. This survey will help to fill the knowledge gap surrounding the current status of aquaponic and hydroponic professionals within the Midwest. Data collected will include demographics, system size and location, economic sustainability, as well as motives and perceptions within each industry. Due to the lack of current research this proposed study represents an unprecedented opportunity to understand the current status of these emerging industries. Analyzing this data will reveal current trends and help define the main challenges facing each industry.

 

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North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC)

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