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One Step Closer to Mars with Aquaponics: Cultivating Citizen Science in K12 SchoolsThe Microbial Ecology and Biogeochemistry Research Laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center focuses primarily on the nutrient cycling and diversity of complex microbial communities. NASA is interested in the composition and functioning of microbial mat communities as these processes fundamentally shape the form and function of these analogs for the earliest forms of life on Earth (3.6 billion years ago), and likely will on other planets as well. Aquaponics systems are supported by microbial communities who perform many complex ecosystem services, including cycling nitrogen. Microbes are integral to the stability and productivity of aquaponics systems, which are analogous to microbial communities in food production systems that are essential for building efficient life support systems for long-distance space travel. Students at Meadow Park Middle School created 10 parallel aquaponics systems and took temporal microbial samples to characterize whether any macro-ecology variables impacted or changed the microbial diversity of these systems. Students additionally created a website so that other classrooms can pursue similar projects in their own schools ( Our lab at NASA Ames has sequenced water samples from each of the 10 tanks at 3 timepoints using a MinION sequencer. MPMS students will be involved in the analysis of the bioinformatics data generated through this collaboration. Our ongoing collaboration aims to collect and analyze data in the classroom setting that has utility for research scientists, while involving students as collaborators in the research process.
Document ID
Document Type
Kolattukudy, Maria
Puranik, Niyati
Sane, Nishant
Bisht, Kritika
Saffat, Nabeeha
Gupta, Anika
McHugh, Anne
(Meadow Park Middle School Beaverton, OR, United States)
Detweiler, Angela
(Bay Area Environmental Research Inst. Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Bebout, Brad
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Everroad, R. Craig
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
February 5, 2018
Publication Date
November 3, 2017
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Aquaponics Association Meeting(Portland, OR)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Use by or on behalf of the US Gov. Permitted.
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