Course:APBI490/Section 99C

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Aquaculture and the Environment
APBI 490
Section: 199
Instructor: Dr. Paige Ackerman
Office: TBA
Office Hours: TBA
Class Schedule: TBA
Classroom: TBA
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Description

This Web-based course is designed to teach the interactions that take place between aquaculture and the environment by providing the student with relevant principles, concepts and tools. Students will explore current issues in aquaculture and investigate their implications. Students will also explore and compare systems, species, production methods and environments.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  • Be able to describe the components and processes of aquaculture systems that interact with the environment;
  • Appreciate the complexity that exists between those components and processes as a system, at different levels of organization (eg. cellular, organismal, farm, regional, global);
  • Synthesize the previous objectives so as to evaluate the interdependence of aquaculture and the biophysical and socioeconomic environments, as well as how different aquaculture systems and production methods can affect that interdependence.

Course Structure

The course is structured into five main modules:

  1. Aquaculture basics
    • This is an introduction to aquaculture in which you will learn what aquaculture is and examine a short history of aquaculture. It will explain the concept of aquaculture production systems, methods, and their characteristics, describe the relationship between aquaculture, fisheries and agriculture; and report on the current status and outlook of aquaculture within the context of other food production systems, such as agriculture and fisheries
  2. Ecology of aquaculture
    • This module will introduce you to some of the potential impacts that aquaculture may have on the environment. The module links thermodynamic laws and trophic concepts to the ecological perspective of an aquaculture system, explains the natural resources and processes on which aquaculture depends, as well as the sources and type of interactions that occur as a result of aquacultural production, relates interactions to production systems and methods, and looks at agricultural development for potential translation of knowledge into aquaculture.
  3. Current issues in aquaculture
    • Aquaculture is always full of hot topics, this module will delve into some of the current issues facing intensive aquaculture
  4. Management of interactions
    • Intensive aquaculture relies on various inputs and results in numerous outputs. This module will look at some of these and discuss management of the interactions between culture of aquatic organisms and the environment they exist in.
  5. Aquaculture and sustainability
    • This last module synthesizes the various issues related to the interactions between aquaculture and the environment, and introduces a perspective about the main aspects related to the sustainability of aquaculture.


Assessment of the course will comprise:

  • Four written assignments relevant to the course material and objectives
  • Participation in discussion module forums
  • One final project
Module #1 Aquaculture Basics Assignment 10%
Module #2 Ecology of Aquaculture Assignment 10%
Module #3 Current Issues in Aquaculture Assignment 20%
Module #4 Management of Interactions Assignment 10%
Module #5 Aquaculture Sustainability Final Project 40%
(All modules) Discussion participation -- 10%


While you can work through the material at your own pace, you are expected to participate in discussions for each module by the due date for the assignment in each module; posting requirements are noted throughout the course material. This will be reflected in your final mark as a component of each Module assignment and worth a total of 10% of the total course mark. You are encouraged to use the discussion boards for other issues that are raised as you progress and share your thoughts and ideas as you go.

Learning Resources

The course will make use of the following aids:

  • Relevant Web sites and on-line tools
  • Group discussion
  • Review questions
  • Case studies
  • Hyperlinks
  • Visual information (Graphics, photos, etc)
  • Relevant literature