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Database Management - 19th Admin Report
PD/A CRSP Nineteenth Annual Administrative Report

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Central Database Management

MOU No. RD009G


Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

John Bolte US Principal Investigator
Doug Ernst Database Manager (Research Associate)


Bolte established contacts with participants in aquaculture education at the community-college and university levels in order to promote the availability and uses of the Database in conjunction with aquaculture coursework.

CRSP collaborative work with Leonard Obaldo from the Oceanic Institute (OI) in Waimanalo, Hawaii, continues to progress. Obaldo attended the CRSP annual meeting in January 2001, and CRSP researchers met with him and discussed proposed work involving modeling (simulation) for zero-exchange shrimp culture systems and the addition of OI shrimp culture data to the CRSP Database. The latter involves the use of standard analytical methods, data collection protocols (data types and frequency of recording), and data formatting by OI. The Database received a first dataset for shrimp feeding and growth from OI, which will be used for calibration of a shrimp production model and for possible inclusion in the Database.

Ernst was asked by the Aquacultural Engineering Society to serve as their committee chair for standard research methods.


PD/A CRSP Annual Meeting at Orlando, Florida, 26 January 2001. (Bolte, Ernst)

Report: PD/A CRSP Central Database: Development and Management

Ninth Work Plan, Database Management 2 (9DM2)

Douglas H. Ernst and John P. Bolte
Department of Bioengineering
Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon, USA


The PD/A CRSP Central Database is a centralized storage and retrieval system for aquaculture research data and related documentation (Hopkins et al., 1987; Batterson et al., 1991; Bolte et al., 1998; Ernst et al., 1997; Ernst and Bolte, 1999; Ernst and Bolte, 2000; Ernst and Bolte, 2001). Started by the CRSP in 1985, the Database currently contains 116 datasets from aquaculture studies
performed under the CRSP. The majority of datasets derive from studies on the production of Nile tilapia in subtropical and tropical, solar algae ponds receiving inputs of plant materials, inorganic and organic fertilizers, or prepared feeds. Datasets from studies of other pond fishes and penaeid shrimp, under monoculture and polyculture management, are also available. Datasets in the Database represent CRSP studies that have been carried out in Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, Thailand, and the US.

Specific data types supported by the Database include site weather, pond soils, pond application materials and rates, water flow and volume management, water quality and primary productivity, fish productivity, and enterprise economics. In conjunction with these data, the Database contains or links supporting information to assist users in the interpretation and application of extracted datasets. This supporting information includes project descriptions, author contact information, analytical methods, research site descriptions, and related publications. Together, all research datasets and supporting information are available at the Database website, located at <>. Datasets may be searched and retrieved based on geographical location, fish species, fish culture methods, and desired types of data. As described at the Database website, user applications of the Database include aquaculture science and engineering, education and outreach, and pond-based commercial aquaculture.

Tasks and Accomplishments

This report is organized by task areas. Technical methods and Internet and software tools used in this work are described in Ernst et al. (1997). The server on which the Database resides and the operating system, database, and website software used were all upgraded over the last year. All software components are currently performing to their full specifications. All security and performance issues of the Database website have been addressed. The current software and hardware configurations of the Database and its website should be sufficient for a number of years.

Entry of CRSP Datasets and Supporting Information

The current data content of the Database is summarized in Table 1. At the time of this report, six datasets remained due for the Eighth and Ninth Work Plans. For a current listing of data requirements and submission status, see the CRSP Projects section at the Database website. Until the Eighth Work Plan, which formally began on 1 August 1996, data submission to the Database was not contractually enforced. A total of 50 datasets from that earlier period that are appropriate for submission have not been submitted. Efforts over the last few years resulted in the collection of 16 datasets from the earlier period, but additional contributions are unlikely. Overall, a total of 292 projects are contained in the First through Ninth Work Plans. Of these, 40% are not appropriate for data submission, 40% are appropriate for data submission and datasets have been submitted, and 20% are appropriate for data submission but datasets have not been submitted.

With considerable assistance from the CRSP Information Management and Networking Component office, the CRSP Projects and Publications tables contained in the Database are up to date and contain 292 and 543 records, respectively. These tables can be accessed at the website main menu and searched according to user criteria (described below). The Projects table contains descriptions and specifications for all CRSP projects to date. In conjunction, experiment treatment specifications for all CRSP projects are codified, tabularized, and available for use in data searches.

Website Development

A major upgrade to the navigation and functionality of the Database website has been accomplished. Overall, user support and context-specific connectivity between the different website sections has been improved. Specific accomplishments are detailed below. This is organized according to the main menu of the Database website.

Database Home: The homepage was redesigned to provide a geographically organized overview and linkage of CRSP study sites.

CRSP Projects: Studies, experiments, and activities (projects) can be searched and listed. Search criteria include research site, year span, and keywords for project title, description, and leader. Experiment treatment specifications (fish culture methods) pertaining to specific datasets can be viewed here as quantitative descriptions. These same specifications are summarized in a look-up tabular format for use in data searches.

CRSP Publications: Publications can be searched and listed. Search criteria include publication type and language, geographical location, year span of publication date, and subject and author keywords. Listings include complete citations and links to abstracts.

Standard Methods: This section provides 1) enterprise budget procedures for aquaculture, 2) the CRSP Handbook of Analytical Methods, and 3) supporting references. The budget document describes the terminology and formatting of full and partial enterprise budgets. The Handbook provides methods for physical, chemical, and biological measurements. Variables described in the Handbook are linked to the Data Submission Manual through variable (data) names. Supporting references include feed and fertilizer analysis, water quality analysis, soil analysis, and water body measurements.

References and Resources: This section provides related Internet links and publication references.

Data Submission: The Data Submission Manual was last updated June 2001. The most current version is always available at the Database website for on-screen review or downloading. The manual contains submission procedures and a comprehensive listing of data types collected by the CRSP (data names, definitions, units, and analytical reference).

Data Search: Empirical datasets are available to users for a wide range of physical, chemical, and biological variables. Datasets can be searched and retrieved for tabular and graphical display or for downloading. Search criteria include project site, year span of project starting dates, fish culture methods, and types of data desired. These criteria are now established successively and interactively, such that dead-end searches have been eliminated. Linkage to supporting information has been improved, including project descriptions, investigator contact information, experiment treatment specifications, and publications. Summary statistics for selected variables is now available, including fish growth, water temperature, and dissolved oxygen data. Statistics for additional variables will be completed by November 2001, including alkalinity, pH, total ammonia nitrogen, dissolved inorganic nitrogen, dissolved inorganic phosphorous, and primary productivity.

How to Use the Database: This new section of the Database website shows the relationships of the different data and information components of the Database and provides procedures and examples for their application. Possible applications of the Database are illustrated, including aquaculture science and engineering, education, and commercial production. Procedures and links for statistical analyses of datasets are provided. Applications of datasets to the calibration and use of fish feeding and growth models are described.

Database Use

The total visitor count to the Database website as of August 2001 was 6,350 (Figure 1). The rate of increase in total visitors over the 4.5-year lifetime of the website (started January 1997) has been fairly constant, at about 1,400 visitors per year. This visitor count does not include any that originated from Oregon State University. It is not known in detail how these users utilized the Database, but section counters at the website (publicly viewable) show distributed interests. To whatever extent these visitor counts are interpreted, they compare well to the 30 documented cases of Database use from 1983 (inception) through the end of 1996. However, it is also apparent that more should be done to promote the Database to new users.

Historically, the Database has been mainly used for the calibration and validation of aquaculture models (e.g., Piedrahita et al., 1997) and the development of aquaculture simulation and decision support systems (e.g., Bolte et al., 2000; Ernst et al., 2001). However, a much larger number of potential users works in areas of aquaculture education and

production. For aquaculture educators and students, the Database can provide a virtual experimental lab, where experiment treatments can be selected and recombined, raw empirical datasets obtained, and experimental hypotheses tested through analysis of variance. For pond-based aquaculture producers, the Database provides an objective resource for aquaculture production results under documented culture conditions. Datasets can also be used in the development of planning and management tools (see website).

Given that the Database is dominated by tilapia production studies, it is most relevant to tilapia producers. Reflecting the research emphasis of the CRSP, much of the tilapia production data in the Database is for extensive aquaculture practices, at stocking densities of one to two fish m-2, with no or low use of prepared feeds. A need to better represent commercial tilapia producers using semi-intensive and intensive practices is evident, through CRSP-directed research and the inclusion of datasets from commercial tilapia farms.

Literature Cited

Batterson, T., H. Berkman, K. Hopkins, R. Piedrahita, and T. Popma, 1991. Final Report on Database Management. Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture CRSP, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, 51 pp.

Bolte, J.P., D.H. Ernst, and D. Lowes, 1998. Central Database Management. In: D. Clair, B. Goetze,

D.Burke, J. Baker, and H. Egna (Editors), Fifteenth Annual Administrative Report. Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture CRSP, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, pp. 36–45.

Bolte, J.P., S.S. Nath, D.H. Ernst, 2000. Development of decision support tools for aquaculture: The POND experience. Aquacultural Engineering, 23(1–3):103–119.

Ernst, D.H. and J.P. Bolte, 1999. PD/A CRSP Central Database management and development. In: D. Clair, D.Burke, K. McElwee, M. Niles, and H. Egna (Editors), Sixteenth Annual Administrative Report. Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture CRSP, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, pp. 9–14.

Ernst, D.H. and J.P. Bolte, 2000. PD/A CRSP Central Database management and development. In: D. Clair, K.McElwee, D. Burke, M. Niles, and H. Egna (Editors), Seventeenth Annual Administrative Report. Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture CRSP, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, pp. 11–15.

Ernst, D.H. and J.P. Bolte, 2001. PD/A CRSP Central Database management and development. In: D. Clair, K.McElwee, A. Gupta, D. Burke, and H. Egna (Editors), Eighteenth Annual Administrative Report. Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture CRSP, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, pp. 9–13.

Ernst, D.H., J.P. Bolte, and D. Lowes, 1997. PD/A CRSP Central Database: A Standardized Information Resource for Pond Aquaculture. In: K. Fitzsimmons (Editor), Tilapia Aquaculture, Proceedings from the Fourth International Symposium on Tilapia in Aquaculture (ISTA), November 1997. NRAES-106, Vol. 2. Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service, Ithaca, New York, pp. 683–700.

Ernst, D.H., J.P. Bolte, and S.S. Nath, 2000. AquaFarm: simulation and decision support for aquaculture facility design and management planning. Aquacultural Engineering, 23(1–3):121–179.

Hopkins, K.D., J.E. Lannan, and J.R. Bowman, 1987. A Database Management System for Research in Pond Dynamics. CRSP Research Reports 87-1. Pond Dynamics/ Aquaculture CRSP, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, 4 pp.

Piedrahita, R.H., S.S. Nath, J. Bolte, S.D. Culberson, P.Giovannini, and D.H. Ernst, 1997. Computer applications in pond aquaculturemodeling and decision support systems. In: H.S. Egna and C.E. Boyd (Editors), Dynamics of Pond Aquaculture. CRC Press, New York, 480 pp.

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