Subproject 4

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The FishCUBE represents the production unit at the highest trophic level. Aquaculture as part a tritrophic system, including considerations for animal welfare, represents a new scientific approach. In the first phase, a system and interface description is provided for the implementation of aquaculture. The information, material and energy flows as well as the necessary data connection within the entire CUBES Circle are described in detail. In this phase, the necessary sensors are also selected, which are integrated into the FishCUBE for continuous data acquisition and quality control. Subsequently, the system is set up with a hydrocyclone for separating sediment and process water. Fish production starts after implementation of the measurement technology as well as the connection to the CUBES Circle. Parallel to the implementation of aquaculture, feeding trials will be carried out in the IGB's aquaculture facilities in order to advance the innovative development of "aquaponic feed" based on insect proteins and other beneficial biogenic resources. This feed will be developed for the three feeding types of fish: herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore. The aim is to implement the feed composition in such a way that the PlantCUBE receives as many macro- and micro-nutrients as possible from the FishCUBE without any negative impact on fish or plant growth. For each fish type, the respective aquaponic food is designed including a “finisher feed” with high-quality ingredients in order to produce the highest possible quality food for the consumer by fortification.

The animal welfare studies based on stress and immune parameters under the established cultivation conditions (densities and aquaponic feed) will begin with the successful implementation of the FishCUBE in the CUBES Circle. All experiments will be carried out in both IGB and FishCUBE husbandry facilities. FishCUBE, as an integral part of the CUBES Circle, produces resource-efficient fish for the local market.

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Prof. Dr. Werner Kloas is head of the Department of Ecophysiology and Aquaculture at the Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei and professor for Endocrinology at the Humboldt University, Faculty of Life Sciences, with expertise in zoology, animal physiology, endocrinology, ecotoxicology, and sustainable aquaculture.

In CUBES Circle his focus of interest is on nutrient cycles across CUBES for fish, plants, and insects and the well-being of the fish. In order to increase sustainability the research aims to develop aquaponics feed, based on sustainable resources and to assess their impacts on fishes with varying nutritive physiology. The group aims to optimize feed input on fishes and their nutrient emissions serving as fertilizer for plants to go further towards application using different fish species and developing a strategy how to integrate them best into CUBES Circle.


(photo by David Ausserhofer)

(photo by David Ausserhofer)

PD Dr. Klaus Knopf has been a research scientist at Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei with expertise in experimental parasitology, fish immunology and parasite ecology.

In CUBES Circle his focus of interest is on the well-being of the fish. The working group investigates how maintanance conditions and nutrition affect the stress-physiological and immunological status of fish. By combining a behavioral biological research approach with the physiological parameters, recommendations for animal welfare-appropriate stocking densities will be developed.


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PD Dr. Radek Gebauer is focused on fish performance and the macro- and micro-nutrients in aquaculture effluent in response to different fish diets. The main aim is to develop sustainable aquaponic feed by means of replacement of the fish meal with cheap and sustainable protein sources. The invented diet would provide macro- and micro-nutrients for plants as well as essential amino acids for fish growth.