|PD/A CRSP Fourteenth Annual Technical Report|
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In the current reporting period, 1 September 1995 through 31 July 96, the CRSP passed two important milestones: USAID authorization of the PD/A CRSP Continuation Plan 1996-2001 and completion of activities scheduled under the third grant (originally slated to end in August 1995). The CRSP received a one-year, funded extension from May 1995 through April 1996 which was followed by a three-month, no-cost extension. The Interim Work Plan allowed the successful transition from the third grant, with its focus on production research, to the fourth grant, with its emphasis on aquaculture research that addresses environmental effects and social and economic aspects, as well as production optimization.
When the CRSP lost the Rwasave research site in Rwanda due to civil unrest, the Africa Site Selection Team began looking for a new host country in East Africa. The Sagana Fish Culture Farm in Kenya was recommended as a prime site for CRSP activities in Africa. Negotiations for a Memorandum of Understanding with Kenyan institutions and the PD/A CRSP have progressed and finalization of the agreement is expected in 1997.
The Fourteenth Annual Technical Report is a collection of research reports
summarizing activities described in the Seventh and Interim Work Plans.
In the following pages readers will note some reports are described as,
"Printed as Submitted"; in these instances, editorial changes
were limited to the correction of spelling and grammar. The companion to
this volume is the Fourteenth Annual Administrative Report, which describes
achievements in administration, research, and outreach activities, and
includes summaries of program history, staff, finances, and publications.
It also contains the abstracts of all technical reports included in this
The CRSP Global Experiment and Related Activities
Since its inception, the goal of the CRSP has been to improve the efficiency of pond production systems through sustainable aquaculture. The strategy adopted by the CRSP in pursuit of this goal has involved the development of a comprehensive research agenda aimed at understanding and improving the efficiency of pond culture systems.
In 1978, a technical plan proposing this strategy was developed under a planning study funded by USAID. The technical plan reviewed and synthesized literature on state-of-the-art pond aquaculture. Overseas sites were surveyed to determined research needs and availability of local support in host countries. The findings from these surveys were then incorporated into planning guidelines.
The literature overview that was conducted during the planning phase showed that different pond systems exhibited considerable variation in productivity. Pond aquaculture had been practiced for centuries as a highly developed art, and the literature was replete with reports about practices that had produced high yields. The results, however, were often not reproducible when the same practices were applied to other ponds. It was clear that there were subtle differences regulating productivity from pond to pond and from site to site, but the nature of these differences remained obscure.
The Global Experiment was intended as a comparative study of aquaculture pond dynamics--one that would begin to explain how and why ponds at different geographic locations function differently, and how the management of those ponds might be adapted to different sets of environmental conditions to optimize production. Hence, a common set of experiments was implemented globally, following a standardized experimental protocol at a number of research sites around the world.
The initial technical design for the Global Experiment involved monitoring environmental and fish production variables at seven locations in six countries. Two brackish water and five freshwater research sites were selected in Central America (Panama and Honduras), Africa (Rwanda), and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines) in 1982 (Figure 1). All of the sites were within a zone extending from 15°N to 15°S latitude. These sites represented the three major tropical regions where advances in pond aquaculture would be most beneficial and most apt to succeed. Observations specified in biennial (originally annual) Work Plans were made on twelve or more ponds of similar size at each location. The variables observed, frequency of observation, and materials and methods used were uniform for all locations.
Subsequent changes in 1987, mainly in response to funding constraints, required that research be continued at only three (Thailand, Rwanda, Honduras) of the six countries originally selected and that sites be maintained in the three major regions originally designated. In 1991, the CRSP program was expanded through the initiation of a sub-project in the Philippines (at a new site in Central Luzon) and the beginning of a completely new project in Egypt. Termination of research activities in Panama and funding constraints in 1987 caused a hiatus in brackish water research which was resumed in 1993 with the addition of a new coastal site in Honduras. The outbreak of civil war in Rwanda in April 1994 caused the cessation of all CRSP research activities there. The Egypt project, under a separate grant from the Cairo Mission, was originally slated to end in 1994; however, after a positive review, it was extended for half a year and ended in March 1995.
The first cycle of experiments aimed to develop a set of baseline data on ponds at the various sites. Subsequent Global Experiment studies have focused on investigations of the effects of different fertilizer regimes on pond productivity and yield. In transition to the upcoming fourth grant, in which environmental research took on added emphasis, the focus of the recent Global Experiment was the development of nutrient budgets for specified production regimes in order to determine the environmental effects of effluents.
As CRSP research progressed through the 1980s, questions that differed from site to site and would need to be addressed with specific experiments surfaced. This family of experiments, separate from the standardized Global Experiment, yet performed concurrently with it, is also global in nature. For example, currently all CRSP sites conduct studies on sediment dynamics and their influence on water quality in tilapia or polyculture ponds. Pond soils have been analyzed in an attempt to establish baseline information and to investigate the role of sediments as nutrient sinks. This research dove-tails with the CRSPs interest in the environmental effects of aquaculture on the aquatic environment.
After the first few years of Global Experiment research, economic analyses
of pond aquaculture systems were added as a component of the aquaculture
development strategy in both the U.S. and host countries. Previous research
had relied on many often tenuous assumptions about the dynamic mechanisms
regulating pond productivity and confirmed the inadequacy of the existing
database. To find out if contemporary pond management practices were in
fact the most efficient, CRSP researchers developed production formulas.
An extensive comparison of the socioeconomic dimensions of CRSP production
techniques among sites is helping CRSP researchers to understand the similarities
and differences of socioeconomic influences on their work. A further integration
of these research perspectives--environmental effects, social and economic
aspects, and production optimization--has been achieved under the PD/A
CRSP Continuation Plan 1996-2001.
Data Analysis and Synthesis
CRSP planners recognized at the outset that aquaculture ponds are extremely complex ecosystems. This complexity has been reflected in the number of variables and frequency of observations required by the experimental protocols specified in the CRSP Work Plans. Although researchers at each of the overseas field sites are free to analyze their own data and publish their findings, it was recognized that the management and analysis of the global data set (i.e., the data generated by all the field sites) would require the establishment of a central data storage and retrieval system. This Central Database was originally established at Oregon State University and maintained by the Management Entity until Spring of 1993 when it was transferred to the University of Hawaii at Hilo. In May 1996, the Central Database returned to Oregon State University where it is managed by PD/A CRSP researchers in the Department of Bioresource Engineering.
Standardized data are tabulated at each research location in accordance with CRSP Work Plans. At the individual sites, data on physical variables (e.g., solar radiation, temperature, and rainfall) and chemical variables (e.g., water and soil characteristics) are collected concurrently with biological measurements (e.g., primary productivity, fish growth, and fish production). Over 160 physical, chemical, and biological variables (approximately 90,000 observations per site and year) are recorded. Whereas the resulting sets of data are useful for site-specific studies, the compilation of all the individual data sets into the Central Database provides opportunities for many kinds of global analyses. Detailed standardized records such as those found in the CRSP Central Database are rare in the aquaculture literature. An internal review commissioned by the Program Management Office confirmed that all data from research activities conducted under the First through the Fourth Work Plans are already in the database, and entry of data from the Fifth Work Plan is almost completed. The Central Database has continued to expand through the inclusion of new data generated under the Seventh and Interim Work Plans. To facilitate information dissemination the Central Database is now electronically accessible at two locations on the Worldwide Web: the Internet Web Site, http://biosys.bre.orst.edu/crspDB and the worldwide environmental data Web site maintained by the Consortium of International Earth Science Networks (CIESIN). The data search strategy for the Central Database Web Site allows the user to extract and compare any combination of fish production treatments. Other important features of the Database are robustness and flexibility which ensure the inclusion of data generated on new sites.
CRSP participants also decided that the comprehensive analysis and interpretation
of global data would be greatly enhanced through the formation of an independent
team of researchers who could devote their efforts to this type of analysis.
This task force was formally established in 1986 as the Data Analysis and
Synthesis Team (DAST). The charge of the DAST is to systematically analyze
pond processes and to develop computer models that reflect our growing
understanding of pond systems. The DAST members are more than end-users
of the database; rather, they participate actively in the design process
of the next cycle of Global Experiments. Communication between the DAST
and field researchers assures that the experimental design encompasses
the information needs of the DAST. The benefits of analyzing global data
and synthesizing information into computer models that simulate pond conditions
occur on several levels: production management, design, and planning. The
quantification of relationships between variables and the effects of different
treatments allows farmers to adapt general management techniques to the
specific local constraints of climate, water, feed, and fertilizer availability
in order to optimize production. The design of production systems will
be improved by matching production facilities and costs with production
goals. In addition, the models contained in decision support systems developed
by the DAST have been useful in estimating fish yields over large geographic
regions as part of a large geographic information system currently being
developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The Special Topics component of the CRSP was created to provide opportunities
for host country and U.S. researchers to collaborate on original research
directed toward the needs and priorities of each host country. The intent
is to strengthen linkages and contribute to the development of research
capabilities within host country institutions by providing opportunities
for scholarly involvement of faculty and advanced students. This component
also provides host country institutions and agencies with access to the
human resources of the CRSP in seeking solutions to short-term local problems.
Projects focus on specific aspects of the Global Experiment that would
benefit from site-specific, detailed investigations.
Proposals for Special Topics Research Projects are developed collaboratively
by the host country and U.S. scientists. Once endorsed by the host country
institution, proposals are reviewed by the CRSP Technical Committee and
other CRSP advisory groups for technical merit and relevance to the general
goals of the CRSP. The projects must also be consistent with USAID and
host country development strategies and priorities.
Although Special Topics Research Projects are an important part of the
CRSP, they are not a major component in terms of funding support or time
expenditure. Twenty to 25% of each researcher's time typically is devoted
to this activity. The CRSP places high priority on its long-term research
agenda. Host country institutions and USAID Missions, however, often consider
basic research activities such as the Global Experiment to be of low priority.
Consequently, administrators in the host countries sometimes have difficulty
justifying participation in the CRSP. The CRSP support for the Special
Topics Research activities helps justify the value of their institutions'
participation in the CRSP. Special Topics Research was not implemented
during this reporting period due to the transitional nature of the research
undertaken during the Interim Work Plan.
CRSP Work Plans
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