Brendan Higgins, assistant professor of biosystems engineering, has worked with the University since fall 2016 and is a leading member of Auburn’s ongoing Aquaponics Project.
Higgins explained why sustainable agriculture systems are increasingly necessary for the future of food production.
“We as a society need to rapidly develop more efficient and sustainable production approaches that simultaneously sustain high yields while minimizing environmental impacts,” Higgins said.
Higgins supervises Auburn’s biofloc system, which is effective for cultivating certain fish. However, he said it also has some limitations.
“[Biofloc systems] work great for species like tilapia—which is what we currently grow—however, they are not great for all species of fish,” Higgins said.
In order to produce a more diverse range of fish, Higgins said he advocated for implementing additional types of production systems that will allow this to happen.
“We want to have the option to produce more types of fish and having both biofloc and so-called ‘clearwater’ systems is advantageous," he said. "Moreover, it lets us make comparisons across system types in cases where we can grow the same organism in both systems.”
The recent fundraising effort during Tiger Giving Day helped the Auburn Aquaponics facility raise $11,225 toward a new tank system able to sustain a more extensive selection of fish including tilapia, bass and saltwater species like shrimp.
These new tanks will also be equipped with real-time monitoring technologies that can compile performance data into a single application.
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