Exploring the Science and Sustainability of Growing Food and Fish Together
In Spring 2023, the Streaming Science team facilitated a Scientist Online Electronic Field Trip at Florida A&M University, called “Aquaponics Adventure: Exploring the Science and Sustainability of Growing Food and Fish Together.”
Meet the Scientists
Dr. Omolola Betiku
Dr. Betiku is an Assistant Professor at the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Florida A&M University. She earned her Ph.D. from Montana State University. Dr. Betiku is a trained animal scientist with specialization in animal nutrition and microbiomics. Feed is a major operational cost in the animal-producing sector; Dr. Betiku has extensive experience in aquaculture nutrition, working with fish farmers to develop cost-effective diets for finfish to make fish food sustainable. In addition, Dr. Betiku is currently working with USDA Forest Service and Sturgeon farms to develop a nutritional strategy for ensuring sustainable production of the endangered fish species of Beluga, Siberian, and Russian Sturgeons. Her work on the environment involves governmental agencies monitoring fish growth, water quality, contaminants, and the microbial population to improve the natural ecosystem’s productivity and prevent the harmful effects of toxic substances from fish on human health. She is a resourceful scientist who has contributed to her field through conference presentations, journal publications, and undergraduate and graduate students’ mentorship. Dr. Betiku through the FAMU Cooperative Extension Unit is involved in 4-H Youth Development Program with University of Florida.
Dr. Alejandro Bolques
Dr. Alejandro (Alex) Bolques is a Florida A&M University Extension Crop Specialist. He is also the Director of the FAMU Research and Extension Center in Quincy, FL, and the FAMU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources program leader. His area of expertise has been in container plant nursery production, with published works in the mitigation of nutrients in nursery runoff, sustainable nursery production, and container weed management. From 2000 to 2014, he served as the Gadsden County Extension Horticulture and Small Farm Extension Agent with FAMU/ and UF/IFAS Extension. He has conducted timely extension educational programs for small farm producers, nursery growers, and homeowners, including pesticide certification training, master gardener training, and integrated pest management. For the last eight and a half years, Dr. Bolques’ extension programming has focused on protective agriculture, hydroponic production, sustainable organic strawberry, leafy lettuce production in high tunnels, and Green Industries BMP certification training.
Live streamed in April 2023 from Florida A&M University. Funded by USDA-NIFA Work Ready Florida. (PI – Dr. Chris Decubellis; PI – Dr. Katie Stofer)
Experts: Dr. Alejandro Bolques, Extension Crop Specialist & Dr. Omolola Betiku, Assistant Professor
Produced by: Dr. Jamie Loizzo & graduate students Caroline Nickerson, Lexi Bolger, & Alice Akers – University of Florida Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.