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Research Projects - PD/A CRSP 18th Admin Report
PD/A CRSP Eighteenth Annual Administrative Report

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Research Projects
Decision Support Systems Research

MOU No. RD009B


Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
John Bolte US Principal Investigator, Project Leader
Doug Ernst Research Associate
Charles Hillyer Graduate Research Assistant (USA; CRSP funded)
Trina Seibert Graduate Research Assistant (USA; CRSP funded)


Aquaculture planners and managers must make increasingly complex decisions regarding routine operations of culture facilities, effects of such operations on the surrounding environment, and the role of aquaculture production facilities within larger farming systems. Analytical tools for decision support systems integrate knowledgeas mathematical models, expert systems, and databasesinto software systems.

CRSP research in Decision Support Systems has developed a Windows-based software package (POND©) that allows simulation modeling and economic analyses of entire pond facilities. POND© facilitates the assessment of economic and ecological impacts of alternative decisions on production and allows an increased understanding of the interrelationships that can affect production dynamics. By capturing the fundamental principles affecting pond production, coupling these with appropriate economic analyses, and presenting results in a readily understandable form, these decision support tools can improve the design, management, and analysis of production facilities.

The current research in Decision Support Systems focuses on improving the utility and interface of POND© software for education and extension purposes; including budget and cost capabilities; and improving POND©s ability to address scheduling and other applied pond management issues. One other aspect of this research is improving the models contained within POND©, particularly as they relate to modeling population size distribution. These enhancements should improve the usefulness of the software in addressing the needs of both educators and pond managers and allow improved decision-making in areas related to fertilization, feeding, stocking, water use and effluent discharge, and economic optimization.

Work Plan Research

The following Ninth Work Plan investigation continued into the current reporting period:

This MOU was also awarded funding to conduct the following Ninth Work Plan investigation:

Note: The schedule for 9DSSR3 has been modified. Please see Appendix 5, "Completion Dates for Work Plan Studies," for revised schedule information. The study 9DSSR2, "Decision support systems for fish population management and scheduling in commercial pond aquaculture operations," is a collaborative project between University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (as a sub-project administered through Subcontract No. RD010A-01) and Oregon State University.


In March, CRSP researcher John Bolte traveled to Wageningen University in the Netherlands to meet with a number of scientists regarding simulation frameworks. Bolte's research group from Oregon State University (OSU) was invited primarily based upon the framework it developed in support of the POND© model effort. Scientists in the Netherlands wanted to develop a common framework for agriculture/aquaculture/ecological modeling to allow for an interchange between model components; after reviewing several other existing frameworks, they chose POND© as the framework for future standardization. Bolte also established a listserve to facilitate collaboration among the scientists engaged in this project.

The researchers have received approximately twenty requests from individual producers around the world for assistance in planning aquaculture facilities.

Educational Outreach

Bolte uses examples from the POND© software in a Biosystems Modeling Techniques class he teaches at OSU.


Bolte, J., S. Nath, and D. Ernst, 2000. Development of decision support tools for aquaculture: The POND© experience. Aquacult. Eng., 23:103–119.
*Ernst, D., 2000. AquaFarm©: Simulation and decision-support software for aquaculture facility design and management planning. Ph.D. dissertation, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, 400 pp.
Ernst, D.H., J.P. Bolte, and S. Nath, 2000. AquaFarm©: Simulation and decision-support software for aquaculture facility design and management planning. Aquacult. Eng., 23:121–179.
Nath, S., J.P. Bolte, L.G. Ross, and J. Aguilar-Manjarrez, 2000. Applications of geographic information systems (GIS) for spatial decision support in aquaculture. Aquacult. Eng., 23:233–278.

* This publication appears under the entry for the Central Database Research Support Project as well. The author is employed by and involved with both projects.


PD/A CRSP Annual Meeting at New Orleans, Louisiana, 31January–2 February 2000. (Bolte)

Decision Support Systems for Fish Population Management and Scheduling in Commercial Pond Aquaculture Operations

Ninth Work Plan, Decision Support Systems Research 2 (9DSSR2)
Progress Report

John Bolte and Charles Hillyer
Department of Bioresource Engineering
Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon, USA


This study is focused on developing software tools for the analysis of fish population size distributions, focusing initially on commercial catfish operations in the southeastern United States, but generalizable to other types of operations and locations. Progress has been made in two primary areas: 1) modeling size distributions and their dynamics through time related to biological and management factors, and 2) software development for the decision tool deliverable from this study. The current status of both is described in this progress report.

Enhancing the POND© Decision Support System for Economics, Education, and Extension

Ninth Work Plan, Decision Support Systems Research 3 (9DSSR3)
Progress Report

John Bolte
Department of Bioresource Engineering
Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon, USA


This study deals with development of decision support tools for warmwater pond aquaculture. Efforts are directed at refining the POND© software and developing a new farm-level decision support tool. Refinements to POND© focus on general issues related to program maintenance, enhancements to the enterprise budgeting tool within POND©, and a task-oriented interface for assisting users in accomplishing specific activities within the tool related to educational and extension application. A brief summary of AquaFarm©, a new aquaculture decision support tool developed in part with PD/A CRSP support, is presented.

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