The modern world of aquaponic technology is the result of dedication and innovation from the industry’s practitioners and professionals. Scroll down to learn more about some of the key innovators and practitioners in the field.
Murray Hallam is undoubtedly the pioneer of modern day Aquaponics and one of the most befitting ambassadors of the industry. The man loves aquaponics with a passion and is one of the foremost inventor-practitioners in the industry. Anyone who is even remotely related to aquaponics, has to have been inspired by and/or influenced by his work in some way. Not to forget his must-have, notoriously funny yet scientifically astute DVD productions on the Secrets of Aquaponics, as he calls them.
The Founder and Director of Practical Aquaponics in Australia, Murray’s aquaponic philosophy pivots around concepts such as uniform nutrient distribution, ecosystem balancing and gravity flow. He repeatedly emphasizes the importance of hyper efficient design practices, and ensuring backups and elimination of failure modes.
As a design innovator himself, Murray has not only developed some of the most sustainable and efficient systems in the industry, but also devoted his time and effort to education and travel. A steadfast believer of open source knowledge transfer in aquaponics, he co-founded the Aquaponics Institute in the United States, an institution dedicated to propagating best industry practices and proven commercial concepts. There are more success stories that slate their victory to Murray Hallam than their fish. For the latest updates follow Murray Hallam on Facebook as he actively communicates his findings and designs.
Dr. James Rakocy
The founding scientist of aquaponics as we know it today, and former Aquaculture Program Leader at the University of Virgin Islands, James is by far the most reputed professional in the industry. The defining scientist of the iconic UVI Aquaponic System boasts over 30 years of research on tilapia culture in aquaponic systems, with an emphasis on conservation and reuse of water, nutrient recycling, and biofloc systems. In his trials, settling and filtration systems were employed to recover and de-water solid waste to be used as an organic fertilizer for field crops. Most innovations and design developments in the industry are based off of research elements and the data published by Dr. Rakocy.
His humbling approach to make UVI Aquaponics an open-source knowledge base has inspired several hobbyist, educational, and commercial scale ventures throughout the world. Furthermore, his willingness to share the failure points observed during his years of research has catapulted the industry through the research and development stage, giving today’s practitioners the opportunity to explore commercial operations. His research publications are a “must read” for any prospective commercial aquaponic venture, and can be downloaded from the University of Virgin Islands webpage.
Dr. Wilson Lennard
Dr. Wilson is a unique asset to the aquaponics industry, both in terms of the longevity of his experience and the relevance of his findings to commercial aquaponics. As part of his Phd research, Dr. Wilson proved that an optimal balance of fish to plants may be achieved, and pioneered the technique of uniform nutrient distribution through ecosystem balance. Greatly revered by several aquaponic start-ups for his quantification of fish stocking densities and fish to plant ratios, Dr. Wilson has very kindly published his worksheets as open source resources on his website, aptly called Aquaponic Solutions.
Dr. Wilson has subsequently developed SYMBIOPONICS™, a complete design and management methodology for aquaponic systems. In addition, Dr. Wilson has proven commercial aquaponic experience through SYMBIOPONICS™, showing that this approach to system design and management is completely technically viable. His systems are producing fish and plants (over 50 varieties), at comparable growth rates and harvest yields to the relevant aquaculture and hydroponics industry standards.
Dr. Nick savidov
Dr Savidov, formerly the Senior Research Scientist with the Provincial Government of Alberta (Canada), was responsible for the Research Greenhouse Crops Program at the Crop Diversification Centre. He is yet another pioneer in the field of research in aquaponic productivity and the application of aquaponics in the Canadian food production system.
Most noteworthy among his publications are his productivity analyses comparing hydroponic and aquaponic technologies. His conclusions on higher aquaponic productivity and the possibilities of increased production in a maturing aquaponic system have helped favorably position aquaponics in the greenhouse cultivation scheme of food production.
Moreover, his initiatives on heating and lighting for greenhouse production during Canadian winters have greatly influenced the aquaponics boom in the Canadian prairies over the last couple of years. At present, Dr. Nick Savidov is a Senior Research Scientist with the Bio-Industrial Opportunities Branch with the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Center. See his presentation on the Evolution of Aquaponics here.
Gina is the Managing Director of Green Acre Aquaponics, one of the longest-standing and most successful commercial aquaponic farms in the United States. Gina was instrumental in founding the Aquaponic Association and currently serves as its Chairperson, organizing some of the largest annual conferences and farm tour networks for aquaponics. Additionally, as a certified civil construction professional, Gina brings trade industry experience to the design and construction of aquaponic systems. She provides a unique viewpoint on the scheme of hybrid systems and the construction techniques that have further broadened the scope of gravity fed aquaponic design. An entrepreneur in the aquaponic field, Gina has helped developed a successful business model for viably marketing aquaponic produce and shares her findings during workshops and seminars.
To her credit, Gina has carefully crafted a highly reputed Complete Course for Aquaponics design, operation, marketing, and business development. WaterFarmers takes pride in the fact that we were associated with the very first session of this course and have over the years developed a unique relationship with Gina and the Green Acres team.
Ryan Chatterson, the owner and operator of Chatterson Farms is one of the most versatile R&D experts in the industry. Bringing in a plethora of experience from his work with Aquatic Eco Systems and Green Sky Growers, Ryan presents a unique modernized approach to the UVI methodology of Aquaponics. His engineering background has greatly contributed to the calculated design of the aquaponic model he propagates. Ryan has carved out an interesting niche in the world of aquaponic experts and scientists, continuously evolving the design and operation paradigm of the science of aquaponics. A strong believer in developing the farming model, Ryan strives to make commercial aquaponic farming a success story through developing robust systems and peripheral technology to achieve that goal. Over the years, he has developed systems geared towards to low inputs and low overheads to achieve hydroponic yields.
Ryan has to his credit several teaching portfolios which has associated him with Dr. Rakocy and Dr. Lennard. As a lifelong gardening aficionado, Ryan has spent years working with aquaponic enthusiasts ranging from backyard gardeners to commercial entrepreneurs. A young and brimming aquaponic farm owner, Ryan shows promise of an emerging leader in the industry.
Aleece, more popularly known as TCLynx from her Radio Jockeying days, is one of the most sought-after contemporary aquaponic innovators of the industry. Her contributions to the evolution of aquaponic plumbing are especially noteworthy. Furthermore, her work on developing the know-how in cosmetic crop production has widened the array of aquaponic possibilities for small-scale farmers. Originally, from Michigan, Aleece currently works out of her farm in Florida, on advancing current system design techniques and making designs more suitable to humid tropical climates.
A feature presenter at the Aquaponic Association annual conferences, Aleece also serves as one of the founding instructors of the Aquaponic Institute, specializing in the knowledge transfer of sound plumbing and innovative material substitution techniques. Yet another open source propagator, Aleece shares her inventions and techniques regularly on her webpage and social media platforms as Aquaponic TCLynx. A leading personality in the modern day aquaponic industry, Aleece is an important person to follow for new information and advice.
Science, since the 14th century renaissance period, has witnessed a range of contributors from all walks of life. The field of aquaponics has been no exception to this, and in fact has greatly benefited from its decentralized nature of development through its many tinkerers, gardeners, enthusiasts, consultants, practitioners, evangelists, farmers, scientists etc. And then there is the M.A.D Scientist. Quite literally, redefining the word as we know it. The “Make-A-Difference” movement finds its origin as the brainchild of the genius permaculture innovator Martinez. Founder and Director of the famed Olomana Gardens in Hawaii, only one of two certified aquaponic farms in the United States, Glenn has been and continues to be a frontier thinker and revolutionary in the field of Aquaponics.
He has to his credit developed highly efficient components such as the Remote or External Siphon, Double Tray Media bed, Worm Tea Brewers, and Burping Water Pump, to name a few. Furthermore, Glenn and his team have designed and developed unique aquaponic solutions for navy vessels, institutions for impaired children, prisons, missions overseas and so on. Additionally, Glenn is one of the most active advocates for the inclusion of Agriculture into STEM programs in American schools. As an academician, Glenn serves as an Instructor/Professor with the University of Hawaii, developing aquaponic certifying programs.
JD, as he is known in the industry, is the President of Colorado Aquaponics, a commercially thriving and community driven operation. A forerunner of the food justice and food security movements in the continent, Sawyer and his wife Tawnya has been instrumental in developing aquaponics as a solution for a healthier and more productive society in the Denver region.
Partnering with K-12 institutions, Sawyer and Colorado Aquaponics have effectively spurred a food awareness program involving aquaponics at the academic level. By building systems for local schools to care and interact with themselves, Sawyer and his team have brought Aquaponics closer to the heart of tomorrow’s citizens. As an active policy maker with the Aquaponic Association, Sawyer’s position in the industry in America gives him a key role in bringing together technology and ideology at various levels of the social food chain.
We are amazed and inspired by the contributions of these, and many others, to the growth and development of aquaponics!