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By Clare Byrd, Environmental Studies
Advisor: Julio Landero
Presentation ID: AM_ATRIUM14
Abstract: Aquaponics is the practice of rearing plants and aquatic animals in the same closed system. The plants and animals work cooperatively with bacteria that are also located in the system. The ammonia from the animal waste is first converted into nitrite and then into nitrate by the bacteria in a process called nitrification. The plants then take up and use the nitrate while their roots filter the water in the system before it runs back down to the animals. Aquaponic systems are a more sustainable alternative to current agriculture and fishery practices because they allow for crops and aquatic livestock to be produced through the same system, conserving space as well as water. Crayfish are crustaceans closely related to the lobster. Crayfish can be found on every continent except Africa, and most species of crayfish live exclusively in freshwater. Neem oil is a vegetable oil produced from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree, and is an FDA- approved organic pesticide. A previous study conducted at the University of Cincinnati showed that while Neem oil may repress nitrification in soil, it increases nitrification efficiency when used in an aquaponics system. In this part of the study we will be exploring how Neem oil affects animals in an aquaponics system, and more specifically how crayfish are affected.