Precision Aquaculture (Robotics)

New technologies have revolutionized the agricultural landscape over the past several decades, improving yield and efficiency while decreasing cost and labor. However, on-bottom oyster aquaculture practices have remained relatively unchanged since the 1800’s. In this integrated project, an innovative smart sustainable shellfish aquaculture management (S3AM) framework is used to achieve long-term goals of enhancing nationwide shellfish farm production, preserving environmental heath, sustaining economic viability of shellfish farm operations, and enhancing quality of life for farmers and society as whole.

This program integrates an interdisciplinary team with expertise in Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, Environmental Science, Economics and Aquaculture from the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific regions to pursue five supporting objectives through research, education, and Extension activities. These include 1) Developing enabling technologies and management solutions for the S3AM framework to improve farm productivity and profitability in coastal regions nationwide. 2) Validating the S3AM in the laboratory and through farm trials in the three coastal regions. 3) Modeling and assessing the economic impacts of the proposed S3AM framework. 4) Integrating knowledge generated from the S3AM into education and outreach activities to prepare future generations of workforce to address globally pressing issues of sustainability. 5) Building a nationwide extension network to engage stakeholders, disseminate the S3AM, and assess its short, medium, and long-term outcomes.

The project entails a system-based approach to develop and implement new technologies and management practices that address the imperative shellfish aquaculture industry needs and to identify economic barriers and opportunities, leading to significantly improved farming efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Current program status and future outlook will be discussed.