Dr. Peter Park (Assistant Professor of Biology) and Dr. Michael Huster (Professor of Physics) collaborated to construct and apply an aquaponics system to the teaching of biology and physics, respectively. Aquaponics is a sustainable farming method used to raise fish and vegetables simultaneously. In an aquaponics system, fish are raised in an aquarium and the waste water produced by these fish is used to fertilize plants in a garden that is connected to the aquarium. This water naturally becomes filtered of nitrogenous wastes via the plants and then returns back and replenishes the aquarium.
Dr. Huster will utilize cutting-edge, open source electronics and software to monitor the aquaponics system and post the data real-time on the Internet. This will allow students to learn how to use sensors to remotely monitor water chemistry and temperature in the aquarium and garden.
The aquaponics system will allow students to carry out independent experiments in the laboratory within the time-frame of an academic semester at Nyack College. Dr. Park and Dr. Huster hope that student projects that utilize the aquaponic system will be presented at institutional and local conferences.
This work is supported by a Roberta Williams Laboratory Teaching Initiative Grant from the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE,www.ableweb.org) awarded to Dr. Park and the Dept. of Biology and Chemistry. The original idea for this project was inspired by Crystal Payne, a Bio112 (Ecology) student, who presented research on aquaponics at the Spring 2012 Nyack College Student Research Conference.
For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaponics