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Fri, 27 Jan 2017

Ducklings help teach off-the-grid living

Integrated agri-aqua system at JCU
Integrated agri-aqua system at JCU

James Cook University staff are using a family of ducks, a school of fish, crustaceans and herbs and vegetables to teach students how to design an off-the-grid aquaculture system.

From January 30, the animals will help teach a ten-day intensive subject giving participants the skills to develop and implement sustainable aquaculture systems.

Marine Biology and Aquaculture Sciences Senior Lecturer Dr Kate Hutson will oversee the subject at JCU’s Marine and Aquaculture Facility (MARF) at the Townsville campus.

“Integrated Aqua-Agri Systems, or integrated aquaculture, provides the by-products, including waste, from one aquatic species as inputs for another. Students will learn to select appropriate species, design the food chain and size the various populations to provide necessary ecosystem functions,” she said.

Dr Hutson said the exercise will show students how to produce valuable commercial crops and other products.

“Integrated Aqua-Agri Systems can increase total output, even if some of the crops yield less than they would, short-term, in a monoculture.”

She said the system students will use is designed to be ‘off-the-grid’.

“That means operating in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities. For example, electrical power is generated on-site with renewable energy sources, including solar and wind power, and rainwater is being harvested,” said Dr Hutson.

She said the group will examine ideas for systems in small spaces (e.g. backyards, work places and communities) but can also scale-up to intensive industries.

Images: http://bit.ly/2j33kg2

Objectives of the subject:

*Design and maintain an off-the-grid integrated culture system

*Learn about bioremediation at a world-class algal research facility.

*Assess biosecurity and disease risks at a commercial fish farm.

*Propagate your own coral fragments.

*Examine water quality parameters at a commercial aquaculture farm.

*Meet and network with real people working in this discipline at ‘Sustainable Careers’ night.


Dr Kate Hutson
P: 61 7 4781 6216
E: kate.hutson@jcu.edu.au