Here are the people who make it all happen.
Anne R. Kapuscinski (left) is the inaugural Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Sustainability Science and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College. For Anne’s full bio, CV, and more click her profile picture.
Pallab Sarker (right) is a Research Assistant Professor in Sustainable Fish Nutrition in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College. He is an expert on the nutrition of fish and shrimp for aquaculture, including freshwater (rainbow trout, tilapia, Indian major carps, common carp, zebrafish, silver barb) and marine (yellowtail, Japanese flounder and shrimp) species. For Pallab’s full bio, CV, and more click his profile picture.
Tyler’s research aims to contribute to the understanding of dynamics between social and ecological systems: how humans affect and are affected by ecosystems. He plans to address these questions in Buen, Hombre Dominican Republic. In the summer of 2012, Tyler traveled to Buen Hombre—a community of 600 residents on the northwestern coast of the country—to assess the status and functioning of coral reef fisheries accessed by artisanal fishermen. He performed fish-community surveys, benthic assessments, catch surveys, and social research on how the fishing system in Buen Hombre operates.
Coral reef ecosystems harbor tremendous biodiversity, perform important functions in the biogeochemical cycles of the planet, and provide the foundation upon which humans create unique and diverse relationships with nature. His dissertation work will include modeling fish population dynamics to help the community and resource managers establish harvest guidelines and promote ecosystem recovery. He will study the effects of artisanal fishing on the coral-reef ecosystem, the impacts of reef resources on human wellbeing, and how stressors, like overfishing and climate change, affect the adaptive capacity of the community and ecosystem.
When Tyler can’t be snorkeling at the beach or fishing, he enjoys basketball and stoking the wood stove.
Devin Fitzgerald, B.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation, University of Massachusetts, (2012). Aquaculture has been growing rapidly for several decades, but for the first time artificially produced seafood is overtaking what we extract out of the oceans. When I worked in a commercial recirculating aquaculture facility I experienced a production environment first hand. This opportunity was invaluable and helped me understand the challenges business owners, managers, and stakeholders work through to make their businesses successful. The aquaculture industry is undergoing changes that have led to higher environmental burden on our oceans, higher rates ecological degradation, and poor food nutrition for fish and people. I’m hoping that with my hands on experience and sustainability focus we can create real implementable actions that reduce environmental impact while keeping businesses afloat.
My job here on the team is to make sure the fish side of our research is running smoothly. I spend most of my time at our recirculating lab making sure the fish are healthy, the water is clear, and the mechanical aspects are functioning properly. To a minor degree, I ensure that things stay organized at the Environmental Monitoring Laboratory, our on campus lab space.
I’m like Gandalf the Grey, I have questions, questions that need answering. I think researching solutions is the place for me.
When I’m not at work Scout, my dog and I are walking about, brewing, cooking, or grilling. Food is definitely my favorite letter of the I.F.E.S. acronym.
Research Assistant Ashley Bae is a final-year undergraduate at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Studying Biology, she took a year off of college to pursue research opportunities and came to Dartmouth in February 2016. Interested in marine conservation, food security, and fish stocks’ responses to climate changes and human influence, Ashley is honored to tackle sustainability issues in aquaculture with Anne. Ashley split her time while at Dartmouth between the Organic Farm and main campus.
Nila tilapia’s (Oreochromis niloticus) ability to digest marine microalga:
On the farm (where the new wet lab & fish-rearing facility are located), she helped carry out a digestibility experiment in which a marine microalga (Nannochloropsis oculata) was used to replace fishmeal in otherwise traditional fish feed. Closer to what wild tilapia eat, as well as cheaper and more sustainable in terms of production and closing nutrient loops, N. oculata could prove an effective alternate protein source. Dr. Pallab Sarker is currently analyzing data from this experiment.
Anti-nutrient analysis of N. oculata:
In Dartmouth’s Environmental Measurements Lab, Ashley helped assess the anti-nutrient content of N. oculata by doing ash content & AIA analysis, and preparing samples for phosphorous analysis.
Microbial communities in the gut of O. niloticus:
Microbes are essential to digestion in all animals, and the role of bacteria as prebiotics or probiotics could be crucial in future aquaculture production. Preliminary work to identify microbial communities in tilapia, the 2nd most commercially grown fish globally, has been done. However, determining the microbial community assemblage in our new microalgal-based feeds has yet to be investigated. In the LSC, Ashley extracted DNA from guts of tilapia she dissected in the Organic Farm’s “Fish Barn.” Hoping to determine bacterial components using 16S sequencing, Ashley is excited to see how microbial communities might differ between traditional aquafeeds and those containing N. oculata as an alternative protein source in both whole-cell and co-product forms. 16S sequencing is currently in progress… Eventually, we would be interested in determining the microbes’ functions.
Last updated: October 2016
Interested in reading more on these topics? Here are two good reviews on gut microbiota in aquatic systems:
- Ganguly, S. and Prasad, A. 2012. Microflora in fish digestive tract plays significant role in digestion and metabolism. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. 22(1), pp. 11-16.
- Ringo, E., Zhou, Z., Vecino, J.L.G., Wadsworth, S., Romero, J., Krogdahl, A., Olsen, R.E., Dimitroglou, A., Foey, A., Davies, S., Owen, M., Lauzon, H.L., Martinsen, L.L., DeSchryver, P., Bossier, P., Sperstad, S., and Merrifield, D.L. 2016. Effect of dietary components on the gut microbiota of aquatic animals. A never-ending story? Aquaculture Nutrition. 22, pp. 219-282.
Oliver is a Junior from New York, NY. He is an Environmental Studies major and Spanish minor. His main academic interests include exploring how our nation’s government legislates our food system and the impact that has on our society as a whole. Oliver is a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar Research Assistant at the Kapuscinski Laboratory. Beyond his daily role in the lab, he has conducted statistical analyses to better understand the correlation between feed intensity and specific water chemistry parameters. He has also used his experience in systems thinking to study the inputs and waste streams in the recirculating aquaculture system.
Check out some of Oliver’s work influencing food system policy here
Ali is a Dartmouth ’17 from Tiburon, California. She is a Government major and Environmental Studies minor helping Professor Kapuscinski in her lab studying the substitution of traditional aquaculture feed with microalgae replacements. She helps in the lab with administering feed and recording data. She is interested in more sustainable business models. Her hobbies include skiing, biking and hiking.
I’m an Environmental Studies and Geography double major broadly interested in human-environment interactions as they are constructed through systems of food production and natural resource use. My main interests within the team’s pursuits are related to closing nutrient loops and up-cycling wastes for greater overall sustainability of production systems. Specifically, I’ve been working to identify and assess potential organic waste streams to fertilize microalgae for use in aquaculture feeds. My latest work has assessed the nutrient content, and spatial and temporal availability of brewery wastewater to cultivate Nannochloropsis sp. During my time in the Kapuscinski lab, I have used a variety of methods including literature research, wastewater sampling, financial cost analysis, nutrient composition comparison, and GIS. I enjoy working on this project because it allows me to take a holistic approach to identifying sustainable transitions at the nexus of food, energy, waste, and water. I like to spend my free time running, hiking, and cooking.
We have had numerous talented individuals work with us on many projects. For more about our previous members, click here.
Check back in for team member updates. Want to see your face here? Email Anne.R.Kapuscinski@dartmouth.edu or Devin.S.Fitzgerald@dartmouth.edu.