Debbie Archer | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries has recently welcomed a Fulbright Visiting Scholar to campus, according to Dr. Amit Sinha, associate professor of water quality. Dr. Pande Gde Sasmita Julyantoro, from Indonesia, arrived in early September and will be conducting research at UAPB until the end of November.
“The Fulbright Visiting Scholar program is designed to increase mutual collaborations between the U.S. and other countries,” Dr Sinha said. “The Fulbright Scholar chooses a supervisor from a host university in the U.S. based on similar research interests and the reputability of the host supervisor, evidenced by the number of peer-reviewed papers published and the grantsmanship. The Aquaculture and Fisheries Department at UAPB is one of the prestigious institutions in the U.S. in the field of aquaculture and fisheries.”
Dr. Pande will be working on a project aimed at understanding the nutrient and microbial dynamics in aquaponic systems and their impact on fish and plants productivity, Dr. Sinha said. This aquaponic technique has the potential to reduce the impact of nutrient/mineral waste on the environment by allowing nutrients leaving the fish to be used to grow hydroponic plants.
“There is a rising concern from the fish farmer community in Arkansas that in such aquaponic systems there are not enough soluble mineral elements released by fish to assure healthy, consistent plant growth,” Dr. Pande said. “Therefore, the primary objective of this project is to test whether supplementing mineral elements in fish feed and/or water can be used to ensure enough soluble minerals are available to the plants.”
Along with fish and plants, microorganisms also play a vital role in maintaining the dynamic equilibrium of the aquaponics system, he said. To better understand the role of microorganisms in this system, the bacterial communities will be analyzed by 16S rRNA gene deep sequencing.
“It will offer a global overview of the microbial taxa and help link their potential functions to plant and fish growth,” Dr. Sinha said.
Dr. Pande believes that the knowledge he gains from his research while at UAPB can be applied to improve fish and plant production in an aquaponic setting.
“In addition,” Dr. Pande said, “the analytical skill-sets learned for mineral analysis (using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry) and molecular assay (by qPCR) will be very useful not only for aquaculture but also for general environmental and nutritional research purposes.”
Dr. Pande is vice dean of the Faculty of Marine Science and Fisheries, Udayana University in Bali province, Indonesia. Prior to that he served as coordinator of the Aquatic Management Resources Study Program at the same university.
He has a doctoral degree in applied biological sciences (aquaculture) from Ghent University in Belgium and a master’s degree of science (biology) from Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia.
“I would like to sincerely thank the aquaculture and fisheries faculty and staff at UAPB, particularly my immediate supervisor Dr. Amit Kumar Sinha, co-supervisor Dr. Nicholas Romano (associate professor of aquaculture at UAPB), Hayden Fischer (UAPB aquaculture research station manager) and David Brewer (UAPB skilled tradesman in aquaculture) for their wonderful hospitality and for the opportunity and experience of joining the research activities at the aquaculture station,” Dr. Pande said.
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