Closed-Loop Aquaculture Systems

Kapuscinski Lab and Dartmouth Organic Farm, Hanover, NH


As our world's population continues to grow, so do issues around food access and malnutrition. Fish is an excellent source of protein, fatty acids and micronutrients, and aquaculture is often put forth as a response to global food insecurity (especially as our oceans become more and more depleted). However, many current aquaculture systems are extremely energy-inefficient, with large amounts of fish-based feed and synthetic nutrient inputs required and large amounts of nutrified waste water outputs produced.

As part of the Kapuscinski lab, I helped design and install integrated hydroponic systems that produce tilapia, vegetable produce, and phytoplankton in passive-heating water tanks in the Dartmouth Organic Farm's greenhouse. I monitored phytoplankton communities present in the systems, and received a Dartmouth Presidential Scholarship for an experiment utilizing fish waste water (instead of synthetic chemicals) to cultivate algae.

Collecting dry-weight measurements

Set up in the Dartmouth greenhouse

Cultivating algae with fish effluent and synthetic growth medium