Presentation Title

The USC Thornton Aquaponics System: A Semi-Closed Living Ecosystem for Microbial Analysis

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 302-42

Type of Presentation

Poster

Abstract

Aquaponics combines aquaculture (raising fish in an enclosed tank) and hydroponics, a method that grows plants in the absence of soil. Aquaponics systems serve as semi-closed model ecosystems and mesocosms for studying microbial communities, where microbial nitrification and bacterial remineralization are two important processes. Thus, it is important to study its bacterial composition and interactions. The USC Wrigley Institute’s aquaponics system was used to study the spatial and temporal variability of its microbial community. We tested water from the system’s four parts: the biofilter, tank, gravel bed, raft. The biofilm from the biofilter was also studied. Over the course of a 5-day study, macronutrients, environmental parameters, and microbial diversity were measured and analyzed. We found diurnal patterns for light, temperature, and chlorophyll, but not for bacterial biomass. There was a spatial difference in nutrient concentrations; ammonia concentrations were higher in the fish tank compared to the raft. The planktonic bacterial community showed low spatial variation in community composition across the four areas, and the two most common genera were Flavobacterium and Limnohabitans. The bacterial community in the biofilter was highly diverse and differed from the planktonic communities. The genera Nitrospira, which is known for complete ammonia oxidation, was found in the biofilm community of the biofilter. Future directions include further characterization of the microbial community and analyses of how the microbial community relates to a healthy aquaponics system.

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Nov 12th, 1:00 PM Nov 12th, 2:00 PM

The USC Thornton Aquaponics System: A Semi-Closed Living Ecosystem for Microbial Analysis

HUB 302-42

Aquaponics combines aquaculture (raising fish in an enclosed tank) and hydroponics, a method that grows plants in the absence of soil. Aquaponics systems serve as semi-closed model ecosystems and mesocosms for studying microbial communities, where microbial nitrification and bacterial remineralization are two important processes. Thus, it is important to study its bacterial composition and interactions. The USC Wrigley Institute’s aquaponics system was used to study the spatial and temporal variability of its microbial community. We tested water from the system’s four parts: the biofilter, tank, gravel bed, raft. The biofilm from the biofilter was also studied. Over the course of a 5-day study, macronutrients, environmental parameters, and microbial diversity were measured and analyzed. We found diurnal patterns for light, temperature, and chlorophyll, but not for bacterial biomass. There was a spatial difference in nutrient concentrations; ammonia concentrations were higher in the fish tank compared to the raft. The planktonic bacterial community showed low spatial variation in community composition across the four areas, and the two most common genera were Flavobacterium and Limnohabitans. The bacterial community in the biofilter was highly diverse and differed from the planktonic communities. The genera Nitrospira, which is known for complete ammonia oxidation, was found in the biofilm community of the biofilter. Future directions include further characterization of the microbial community and analyses of how the microbial community relates to a healthy aquaponics system.