Auburn University is partnering with Ocean University of China to
help the universities’ efforts to improve aquaculture and environmental
Auburn Provost Timothy Boosinger and OUC President Zhigang Yu held a ceremony Wednesday marking the beginning of the OUC-AU Joint Center for Aquaculture and Environmental Sciences. Though not a traditional building, the center connects the universities and promotes partnerships to further the schools’ strengths in fisheries, aquatic and environmental science.
“It brings together two of the strongest programs, really, in the world as it relates to fisheries and aquaculture and it brings investigators from both institutions together to work collaboratively,” said Paul Patterson, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. “I think, through collaboration, we’ll see stronger research results.”The center will provide additional research opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctorate students as well as provide more data for faculty research through the OUC-AU grants program, said John Liu, Auburn’s associate vice president for research and associate provost.
The program will give funding to OUC and Auburn scientists for research in aquaculture and environmental sciences. Eight research proposals were selected for the center’s first round of projects that will begin in the next few weeks, said Henry Fadamiro, assistant dean in Auburn’s College of Agriculture and Auburn’s director of the joint center.
Research topics will span from seeking how to better produce fish and examining the environmental impact of aquaculture to looking for a replacement for fish mill. Liu added that the research done through the program will help solve environmental issues related to aquaculture globally and benefit production of fish products, an important resource of protein for people around the world.
"It’s going to provide the fundamental answers to some of the problems,” Liu said.
A long-standing relationship between the two universities led to the creation of the center. Over the last 10 years the schools have partnered on various research projects, and the formation of the center helped formalize some of the research programs, Patterson said.
The center will also help Auburn continue to draw in new students and faculty, Fadamiro said. During a visit to OUC a few weeks ago, Fadamiro said several students were looking to come to Auburn.
“We’re talking about top-notch students that want to come to Auburn University to study,” Fadamiro said. “It’s a chain reaction where you bring in people here, they learn more about Auburn University, they go out and go back to their country and tell people about Auburn University. It just adds value to the entire campus.”