Comparison of Aquaculture Microbes Across the Midwest

Aquaculture (a method of fish production) is a growing industry, and recirculating aquaculture systems have many benefits including decreased pollution and decreased distance to market. Plants can also be grown in this system using hydroponics. This nutrient-rich system is full of microbes, and is not dissimilar to wastewater. Ryan Bartelme from UW-Milwaukee is here to crack open the black box of the aquaculture microbiome using 16S rRNA gene amplicion sequencing. Comparing aquaculture systems across the Midwest revealed that the source of the water was a major factor in the microbial community composition. Some bacteria were found across sites, including fish pathogens. This data also showed that aquaculture systems also host many nitrifying microbes. Ryan identified an association between Nitrospira and ammonia-oxidizing Archaea within the nitrifying community that was consistent across sites. This research may help guide aquaculture management decisions.

-Alex Linz

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