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Hi everybody! Does anyone know which universities in the US offer Master of Science in Aquaponics? 

Thanks!

 

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I think the point was the original poster was asking about Masters degree programs being offered for "aquaponics" and though there are many universities that have some interest and research going on in aquaponics, there are currently no degree programs masters or otherwise.

Well at least not at a recognized accredited school.  There is a guy calling himself the University of Aquaponics on YouTube teaching how to make bio-filters out of storage tubs and window screen as well as teaching how to hook kiddie pools together and call that an aquaponics system.  But I'm not gonna call that a masters degree.  I've tested out the kiddie pool on a pallet as a grow bed and that won't last a year, I'm already in the process of shutting down that trial on my property.

As many have said here, there are several Universities offering aquaculture programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level, some of whom already have aquaponics systems up and running, and some which you can work on that system as part of your degree.

If you want to do a Masters in Aquaponics then you should approach universities directly, specifically those with aquaculture or horticulture programmes, and outline that you would like to do a thesis based on aquaponics.  Either the Universities will support you, or they won't - in which you will be able to decide where to study.

Hawaii has some programmes, and there are students studying their Masters degrees there whose emphasis is on aquaponics in particular.  They are well supported by the University and who also work with community groups.

Hi Peter, Sean...

I'd like to see (further) research done on

  • fish growth rates vs pH;
  • the role of nitrospira and hetrotrophic bacteria in aquaponic systems
  • nutritutional comparisons of vegetebles grown in AP relative to soil and hydroponics
  • phase change materials in application to heating AP systems

There's a few that could occupy a couple of years of a thesis studies...
 


 Peter Shaw said:

I would like to ask the same question that Sean asked,

Rupert, what would you like universities to spend money on?

in depth into what exactly?

I am just curious, as you are one of the world leading authorities on the subject.



RupertofOZ said:

Yep. I'd also read the three documents linked, and had seen the work done in American Somoa...

But I was hoping there might be some more in depth aquaponics research going on... there's really nothing startling or new in any of the links, that hasn't been done before.. all over the world, by many people...

And Dr. Brett Roe here in Australia did significant research into "vermiponics" in "aquaponics" many years ago...

 

Hardly positions you as the "world leaders" in aquaponic reseach... but I'm glad to see the interest in academic circles... and hope it continues into some real research...

 

Definitely nothing there to indicate a degree in aquaponics though... let alone to "masters" level....

And there's more than a few DWC raft aquaponics systems operating in Hawaii... that are a lot bigger, and older.. than anything shown in the notes...

Ah Peter... where to begin...

Why fish growth vs pH?? ... for exactly the reasons that you go on to raise...

 

Firstly, there's no dispute that plants grow better within the pH range employed in hydroponics, typically 6.2-6.6... although more recent research has suggested 5.6-6.2, and many hydroponic operators are now pursuing this...

My personal experience, and that of many/most senior AP operators here in Australia absolutely confirms this...

I operate my systems constantly at levels of pH ranging from 5.8 (if I haven't tested for a while ) to 6.4 when I buffer upward... regardless of plant species... and with consistant, and prolific plant growth and yield... and zero trace element deficiencies..

 

And there's no dispute as to the effect of pH influences nutrient solubility... as above... 

 

Traditionally accepted views of the role of nitrobacter in the "nitrogen" cycle... suggest that the optimal range of pH for nitrification is between 7.5 - 8.5... and that nitrobacter are compromised below 6.8...

Likewise tradition wisedom suggests that optimal fish growth occurs within much the same pH range...

 

This suggests that many AP systems should not be able to perform virtually at all at pH ranges below 6.8.... and that fish growth would be impaired... but again, from my experience and others... this just plainly is not the case...

My fish growth is consistantly as good at lower pH ranges.. in comparison to the stated "optimal" pH range... both in relation to AP systems of higher pH values... and even traditional pond based aquaculture...

(There's a study in its self... comparative growth rates in AP vs pond based aquaculture)

 

The traditional role of nitrobacter as the principle nitrifying bacteria has been challenged, particularly by the works of Timothy A. Hovanec et al, and others... that have shown that in other than temporary transient situations, like cycling and temporary imbalances.... (related to inhibition by ammonia).....that it is Nitrospira that is responsible as the principle nitrifying bacteria... and that Nitrospira is capable of nitrification down to pH values of about 5.8 - 6.0... where hetrotrophic bacteria appear to play a more dominant role... reflected in a "milkiness" often seen in AP systems as the nitrification decreases markedly, and ammonia spikes occur.. (low DO also influences nitrification, and is related to temperature)

 

Likewise, much of the research that suggests fish growth is optimal between pH 7.5 - 8.5 ... is related to lime promoted, algael bloom management of pond based aquaculture... but I'm wondering if in fact this is a reflection of the methodology employed in such aquaculture systems, which require this pH range... rather than an actual reflection of growth rates vs pH its self...

 

There's no denying the role of temperature in relation to fish growth.. and specific optimal ranges for specific species have been known for many years...

Nor is there dispute as to the role of temperature in relationship to nitrification.. or to plant growth rates with respect to optimal ranges... although once again aquaponic systems seem to at least question some of the accepted wisedoms, particularly those transferred from soil based agriculture...

 

The role that pH has and how it " influences microbial populations, and roots can change that in the rhizosphere"... is I think overstated, and a transference from soil based technologies... when in fact I think it is much morely closely related to the role of hetrotrophic bacteria, particularly in aquaponic systems...


 
Peter Shaw said:

Cool, maybe we can look at these one at a time, over time and a cup of coffee? i will also assume you are thinking about commercial applications as there will be no research conducted without an industry to support it.

fish growth vs pH, why? pH is quite easy to manipulate, but does not seem to be strictly an aquaponics issue, per se, Are you interested in seeing the limits of pH and species and fish health and growth? Are you thinking that your plants would grow more rapidly under a pH more "suitable" to plants? Seems that the plants already perform great compared to hydroponics and they are not in the range suggested, Our lettuce is at about 7 in the aqua system and 5.8 in the hydro. I have tried hydro at 7, no way. And the bacteria nitrospira would not likely grow at lower pH than maybe what, 7? without that we would be up to our gills in well, who knows. Are you thinking that it could go higher than 7?

Optimal pH is different for mineral soils and artificial soils such as peat based mixes, a full unit lower generally. How might you think water or gravel as a medium would impact this? I dont see many nutrients being locked up in soluble organic matter, like P. Hopefully there is no Al to tie it up at a low pH but there is plenty of Ca.

With plants likely more flexible, perhaps an experiment on pH optimums for specific crops. Then again, pH influences nutrient solubility, so that might confuse the issue a bit. But pH also influences microbial populations, and roots can change that in the rhizosphere.

Personally I would rather see fish growth vs water temperature. Many people cant grow tilapia, nor does everyone want to eat them.  But cooler water fish, might be nice, like trout, year round, indoors so you can grow crops year round and sell them, how warm can you go? Which strain might be tolerate of warmer temps? how warm before it gets mushy?

how cool can you really go with veggies, lettuce, basil, the money crops? The VT researchers showed that growth was pretty slow and not likely commercially viable, but maybe a bit warmer? Then again that was not really a recirculating system.

This would tie into your idea about phase change in materials i am assuming. The goal would be to use as little energy as possible with the greatest yields.

Great ideas, maybe we should make a new discussion and try to keep it on track and not hijack this one?

peter


RupertofOZ said:

Hi Peter, Sean...

I'd like to see (further) research done on

  • fish growth rates vs pH;
  • the role of nitrospira and hetrotrophic bacteria in aquaponic systems
  • nutritutional comparisons of vegetebles grown in AP relative to soil and hydroponics
  • phase change materials in application to heating AP systems

There's a few that could occupy a couple of years of a thesis studies...
 


 Peter Shaw said:

I would like to ask the same question that Sean asked,

Rupert, what would you like universities to spend money on?

in depth into what exactly?

I am just curious, as you are one of the world leading authorities on the subject.



RupertofOZ said:

Yep. I'd also read the three documents linked, and had seen the work done in American Somoa...

But I was hoping there might be some more in depth aquaponics research going on... there's really nothing startling or new in any of the links, that hasn't been done before.. all over the world, by many people...

And Dr. Brett Roe here in Australia did significant research into "vermiponics" in "aquaponics" many years ago...

 

Hardly positions you as the "world leaders" in aquaponic reseach... but I'm glad to see the interest in academic circles... and hope it continues into some real research...

 

Definitely nothing there to indicate a degree in aquaponics though... let alone to "masters" level....

And there's more than a few DWC raft aquaponics systems operating in Hawaii... that are a lot bigger, and older.. than anything shown in the notes...

Well, thank you for your information and your comments. Actually, now i'm applying for Master of Science in Aquaculture instead.

 

Japan Aquaponics - アクアポニックス 日本 said:

As many have said here, there are several Universities offering aquaculture programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level, some of whom already have aquaponics systems up and running, and some which you can work on that system as part of your degree.

If you want to do a Masters in Aquaponics then you should approach universities directly, specifically those with aquaculture or horticulture programmes, and outline that you would like to do a thesis based on aquaponics.  Either the Universities will support you, or they won't - in which you will be able to decide where to study.

Hawaii has some programmes, and there are students studying their Masters degrees there whose emphasis is on aquaponics in particular.  They are well supported by the University and who also work with community groups.

I wouldn't mind seeing a few universities start testing/studying different pathogen survival in aquaponic situations to help with safety guidelines for food handling.

TCLynx - 

Maybe this is up your alley? 

Clyde Tamaru is helping to address a Francisella like organism (FLO) that is problematic on O'ahu.  Check out the first article. http://www.ctsa.org/files/publications/Feb_11_Regional_e-Notes.pdf  I believe he is also doing similar projects w/ this pathogen using aquaponic systems, I just couldn't find them off the top of my head. Also if you search for Francisella on the UH Manoa site you can find a recent ppt presented at a November, 2011 workshop.

TCLynx said:

I wouldn't mind seeing a few universities start testing/studying different pathogen survival in aquaponic situations to help with safety guidelines for food handling.

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