Research Projects
NSERC Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network

Research Projects

Project Title:
The role of microbes in the nutrient recycling of organic material from IMTA sites (D1P3)

Project Description:
Understanding the various paths and processes by which energy flows through an IMTA site is one of the main objectives in the creation of sustainable aquaculture systems using ecosystem-based approaches. As food from one trophic level is recycled through another, the energy associated with organic particles is stripped out and is converted to inorganic waste products such as ammonia or carbon dioxide or heat. This transfer occurs right down to the lowest trophic levels where the bacteria reside. The objective of this project is to evaluate the role that bacteria play in nutrient recycling at a salmon aquaculture site and to evaluate the relative scale of their ability to convert organic particles into inorganic components. Specifically, we will be enumerating bacteria and their respiration rates on and away from finfish aquaculture sites in both the water column as well as the benthos. This will be done on a seasonal basis at IMTA sites on both the East and West coasts. Additionally, we will also identify the bacterial communities associated with the aquaculture sites and how they evolve over the year. These results will fit into a model being prepared on energy flow through an IMTA site.
(DAPI stained bacteria on a membrane filter from samples taken from a fish farm in New Brunswick. - Credits: Kelli Mitchell)

Project Leader Name:
Shawn Robinson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station (SABS), Aquaculture and Biological Interactions Section

Project Leader e-mail Contact:

Team Members’ Names and Affiliations (researchers and students):
Ben Forward (NBRPC)
Terralynn Lander (DFO-SABS)
Kelli Mitchell (UNBSJ summer student)

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