Research by Professor ENMU published in Aquaculture Academic Journal

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Dr. Jesse Filbrun, assistant professor of biology at the University of Eastern New Mexico, will see his research published in the August 2019 edition of “Aquaculture,” an academic journal focused on international scientific contributions to l aquaculture.

Dr. Filbrun worked with colleagues in Stoneville, Mississippi, to quantify the contribution of zooplankton to the growth of channel and hybrid catfish in aquaculture ponds.

The ENMU professor completed his doctoral research program at Ohio State University in 2013, where his goal was to improve the reliability of catfish production in ponds.

Historically, most catfish producers rear juvenile catfish in ponds by providing excessively large amounts of pellet feed from the time of stocking the ponds. However, in 2014, Dr Filbrun and his doctoral supervisor, Dr David Culver, published an article in “Aquaculture” which provided strong evidence that living zooplankton, and not pelletized food, supported fish growth during the first few weeks after stocking the ponds.

“This is an important discovery because fish farmers can produce fish inexpensively, sustainably and reliably by reducing feed additions to ponds without reducing fish growth,” says Dr Filbrun.

Two hybrid yolk-sac catfish fry.

When did you start working on this research? Describe your research process.

In 2015, I met with my colleagues in Mississippi to discuss a pond experiment to quantify the contribution of zooplankton and pellet food to the growth of juvenile hybrid catfish. This study was important because the diets of hybrid catfish, which are a first-generation cross between a female catfish and a male blue catfish, were unknown. To effectively breed juvenile hybrid catfish, we set out to determine how much (or how little) pellet feed should be added to ponds by producers.

The experiment was carried out in 2016 at the Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center in Stoneville. To quantify fish diets, we used a stable isotope mass balance approach. This approach is based on the principle that the tissues of fish correspond to the stable isotopic ratios of carbon and nitrogen of the food they eat in ponds.

My colleagues carried out the pond experiment, then my students (including Jeremiah Olivas, an ENMU undergraduate student) and I prepared samples of fish, zooplankton, and granulated food for isotope measurements. stable by a contract laboratory. I then completed diet modeling, statistical analyzes, and wrote most of the original draft of the manuscript. We submitted the manuscript for review for publication in “Aquaculture” in November 2018.

What were the highlights of the work on this research? Do you intend to continue this research?

The most important results of our study were that 1) hybrid catfish and river catfish both rely heavily on zooplankton to support their growth during the first few weeks after stocking fish in ponds, and 2 ) there was no difference in the diet of the fish or the growth rates between them. catfish genotypes. Thus, producers should manage ponds to support adequate densities of zooplankton, and hybrid catfish nursery ponds can be managed in the same way as catfish nursery ponds. Yes, we are in discussions to pursue similar lines of research in the future.

How did you go about publishing your research?

My colleagues and I felt that our study presented a new approach to answer an important question for catfish producers. So, we decided to submit our manuscript to “Aquaculture”, the most renowned journal in this field of aquatic sciences.

What does publishing your research mean to you?

Unpublished scientific work may just as well never have happened, because it has no impact on the scientific community at large. Thus, it is extremely important for us and for our field to publish our findings in a highly reputable peer-reviewed journal. The articles in “Aquaculture” are widely read and have a relatively high citation index, so I think this contribution will make a significant difference to catfish production methods. Personally, I think seeing an item in print at last is incredibly satisfying, as it represents years of hard work and development.

Read Dr Filbrun’s article here.


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