Research in the Program in Scientific Aquaculture focuses on the use of reproduction, genetics, pathology, nutrition, engineering, and sustainable design to address critical issues in aquaculture. Examples of current research include:
- Developing offshore culture technology for mussel farming
- Selectively breeding fast growing disease-resistant oysters and hard clams
- Researching methods for cageless ranching of fish
- Developing indigenous diets and systems for growing fish for malnourished Haitians
- Improving methods for rearing research animals such a Xenopus, zebrafish, and cuttlefish
- Culturing promising microalgae species as potential feedstock for biofuels
Approaches used in these studies almost all involve commercial collaborators. We pride ourselves in finding productive opportunities and solutions to practical problems. Our goal is to work in harmony and synergy with natural processes to meet human needs through aquaculture. We have four prongs to our program that all serve the goal of sustainability;
- Recirculation aquaculture – most of our systems and holding facilities are served by state-of –the –art recirculation systems, and we strive to advance them through research.
- Open ocean aquaculture – as competing uses crowd our shores, farming the open seas with integrated systems of fish, shellfish and seaweeds hold promise
- Low-resource aquaculture – does not require more than naturally available food inputs and includes our shellfish farming initiatives, and fish farming project in Haiti with indigenous feeds.
- Stock replenishment – ultimately, with careful management, our natural fisheries will rebuild but they may need help along the way. Using well-established re-stocking guidelines local shellfish and finfish populations can be boosted sooner.
Undergraduate Training Experience
As part of its outreach and education role, the Scientific Aquaculture program offers opportunities to enrolled college students whose academic institutions require participation in internship opportunities for academic credit. This is generally a one-semester, unpaid, experience that can be arranged depending on most academic calendars. We welcome prospective academic institutions to post these opportunities to their students.
Undergraduate students will gain hands-on experience in aquatic animal care, husbandry, and culture. Qualifying students may also learn new scientific methods and theory by participating in research being conducted by the program scientist. For more details about the two current research projects offered in the Scientific Aquaculture program, see below.
Students are expected to participate in the training experience for up to 40 hours per week, or as required by the individual’s home institution. Daily duties include preparing animals’ diets, feeding animals, maintaining water quality in aquaria and holding tanks, recording animal health and water quality data in logbooks, and routine cleaning and upkeep of equipment and husbandry areas. Opportunities exist for students to observe and/or participate in laboratory procedures to learn about the mechanical aspects of large and small water filtration and sterilization systems.