"Aquaponics is a system combining conventional agriculture (raising animals, in this case aquatic animals, hence the name aquaponics) and the technologies of hydroponics (using water to cultivate plants) in order to bring forth a sustainable means of food production. The aquaponics system does not sacrifice food quality and production rate. The waste excretions from aquatic animals provide a byproduct, which is then broken down by nitrogen fixation, providing nutrients highly essential to plant growth. The waste, otherwise just accumulating in the environment, is used as an organic fertilizer for the plants, therefore eliminating the necessity of additional chemical fertilizers that may be hazardous to both the environment and human health.
There are three main components of an aquaponics system: the grow bed, the fish tank, and nitrifying bacteria. The grow bed holds the plant life and the fish tank holds the aquatic life and nitrifying bacteria lie throughout the system."
- excerpt from "What is Aquaponics?" on the ISB Aquaponics website written by Amanda
Aquaponics is the most recent module in development by the Systems Education Experiences team (SEE). SEE creates modules for teachers to integrate into their classrooms. It provides all the instructions for teachers, simulations for students, worksheets, and tries to incorporate some of the requirements outlined by state standards. Teachers, ISB researchers, scientists, and students are all involved in contributing to the project. Part of Amanda's duties was to design a computer-generated diagram (shown below) from a hand-drawn outline to visually display the components of the aquaponics system.
The development of the module is expected to go on for 3 to five more years, before it is fully ready to be sent out to teachers as a polished package.
For future Applicants!!! If you are interested in this area, this may be a possible project for you! It is expected that plants and fish are going to be placed in the system at ISB next year, so be on the look out! Mention in your interview if you want to help with this!