SFAAS Searching for Director of School

Director, SFAAS

AU tower logo v10Auburn University is seeking a Director for the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences in the College of Agriculture to provide vision and leadership that enhances the College’s tradition of excellence in teaching, research, extension/outreach, and service. The successful candidate will serve as the chief academic and administrative officer for the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences and will report directly to the Dean of the College of Agriculture.

The newly designated School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences began as a department in 1933 and is noted as one of the best programs of its kind in the world. The School conducts outstanding teaching, research, extension/outreach, and international programs in freshwater and marine aquaculture, fisheries managements and aquatic resources. The School consists of 23 tenure/tenure-track faculty, five research fellows and over 100 other employees. There are approximately 160 students, of which 100 are graduate students pursuing a Master of Science, Master of Aquaculture, or Doctor of Philosophy in Fisheries.

The College of Agriculture consists of the Departments of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology; Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences; Animal Sciences; Biosystems Engineering; Entomology and Plant Pathology; Horticulture; Poultry Sciences; and the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences. The College of Agriculture has 138 tenure and tenure-track faculty members, 270 graduate students, and over 1,000 undergraduate students.

Auburn University (www.auburn.edu) is a comprehensive land grant, sea grant, and space grant institution wit ha dynamic 150 year history. The University’s main campus has a 2013-2014 enrollment of 24,864 students and offers degrees in 12 schools and colleges at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels. Auburn University is not only known for its great education programs, but is also notable for its $4 billion+ impact on Alabama’s economy. Auburn University is located in the family friendly town of Auburn, Alabama, with a population of 50,000, a renowned school system and nationally recognized medical center. Auburn is located approximately 50 miles from Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, and 110 miles from Atlanta, Georgia. This location provides a moderate climate with easy access to both beach and mountain recreational facilities.

The responsibilities for this position are to provide visionary leadership, and overall management of the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences. The Directory will be responsible for all budget development and management, securing funding, recruitment and supervision of personnel, professional development of faculty and staff, and coordination of the assessment and development of academic programs within the School. The Director will be assisted in these tasks by two Associate Directors. Together, they will provide oversight of the numerous state-wide departmental facilities which include extensive research, teaching and outreach/extension facilities at North Auburn, South Auburn, Greensboro, Mobile, Dauphin Island and Fairhope.

In addition to leading the transition and expansion from an outstanding department to a world-renown School, the Director must develop strong working relationships with other departments, commodity groups, agribusiness representatives, various government and private/non-government agencies, and students and alumni. The successful candidate will report to the Dean of Agriculture and maintain close relationships with the Directors of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, USDA-ARS Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit, the Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the International Center for Aquaculture and Aquatic Environments, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the Alabama Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium (Dauphin Island Sea Lab) and the Aquaculture and Fisheries Business Institute.

The position requires an earned doctorate or equivalent and a distinguished scholarship record sufficient to merit appointment with tenure at the rank of Professor. The successful candidate should have an outstanding record of academic achievement in one or more of the following areas: research, teaching and/or extension/outreach; a strong commitment to shared governance; interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary program development; and a demonstrable record of successful administrative skills, experience and cooperation to achieve university level goals. Effective communication skills with multiple constituencies in a diverse community; management skills for complex organizations including facilities development; strong interpersonal skills; and wide-ranging participation in service activities and professional societies are required. Capacity for visionary leadership and successful experience in the process of securing funds from the university and external sources for programs related to teaching, research, extension, community outreach and service are desired. The candidate must be knowledgeable of, and committed to, the unique mission of a land-grant institution and have substantial accomplishments in at least two of the three land grant mission areas.

Candidates should submit a letter of application, curriculum vita, five references, and leadership philosophy to the address below. While applications and nominations will be accepted until the position is filled, interested parties are highly encouraged to submit their materials by DECEMBER 31, 2013 to assure optimal consideration. For details please see: http://www.ag.auburn.edu/fish


Search Committee-Director, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences

Attention: Managing Director

Breckenridge Partners


1025 West Everett Road, Suite #4

Lake Forest, Illinois 60045

Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

~Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer~

The candidate selected for this position must be able to meet eligibility requirements to work in the United States at the time appointment is scheduled to begin and continue working legally for the proposed term of employment.


Click here to download PDF copy: FAAS Director FINAL

Counting Memories- The History of Auburn’s Oldest Remaining Fisheries Research Building

Many professors in the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures at Auburn University – along with alumni, staff and students – probably have a faint memory of the old counting shed at the North Auburn Fisheries Research Station, recently renamed the E. W. Shell Fisheries Center.

The counting shed was constructed in 1948, making it the oldest building on research station land. One of the first incumbents was Lamar Black, the superintendent from 1948-1985. Mr. Black was followed by Randell Goodman from 1985-2011, as well as Karen Veverica, the current station superintendent. The counting shed was enclosed and enlarged to include more storage space, office space, fish holding tanks, and a fish hatchery. Construction was concluded in 1962.

The memories that are associated with the shed are not easily shaken, nor should they be. Veverica remembers the open concrete drains that ran through the counting shed floors next to the walls allowing water to flow back into the creek. Offices for the station manager and staff were located in the counting shed. 


The Original Counting Shed constructed in 1948

Nonchalantly, Veverica stated “it was not that strange to see a snake in the drain. Any critters could come into the shed.” The shed outwardly was plain and simple. No one seemed to have a problem with the simplicity; in fact, that very same simplicity seems to be the factor that brings smiles to the faces of those that worked in the building. The shed was fully equipped with the latest and greatest tanks and nets, as well as some of the most intellectual fishery students and staff. The shed, however, lacked heating, air conditioning, and restroom facilities of any sort. “The station crew would sit under a shady shed located near the counting shed to get out of the hot summer sun and eat watermelon. The shed was simple, but it got the job done, and for a long time,” Veverica stated, reminiscing on the sixty-five year old structure.


Fisheries student Paul Smith catfish in the counting shed in 1970

Dr. Leonard Lovshin, a faculty member at the time, remembers the year round marketing that started on Saturday mornings in 1981 at the counting shed. The counting shed served as the first fish market at Auburn. “When I was a student in 1970, we would have tons of fish left over after sorting, counting and weighing the fish upon removal from the research ponds. We, [the students and station crew], could take home as many fish as we could stuff into our cars. When the market opened, we rarely got to take any fish home. People loved our fish. There was no cleaning of the fish, they were always sold live and whole.”

Dr. David Rouse experienced the counting shed in the early 1970’s as a master’s student. Rouse remembers the shed vividly. “Most folks probably thought all electrical plugs were placed on the walls at the four foot level for easy access, but really it was to keep them out of the water during floods.”  Rouse, as a graduate student, was asked to work one to two days a week at the station. “We would learn about each other’s research but maybe more interestingly, we [learned] about the other students, their home countries, football, hunting and fishing.” Not only was the counting shed a place for intensive, groundbreaking research, but it was also for making relationships- making memories that would stand the test of time.

The creek that ran alongside the shed often overflowed when there was a large rainfall. The shed wall contained a visible flood line that was about three feet off the concrete floor. “We couldn’t keep anything in the bottom two drawers of our filing cabinets. Everything would be ruined if you did,” Veverica added. Veverica laughed as she conveyed all of this information, making it seem as if the counting shed was one of the most charming places in the world. Seemingly important things such as air conditioning and restrooms were overshadowed by the relationships, the knowledge, and the Auburn spirit that was present in the treasured shed for more than sixty years.


The Counting Shed Today


The shed is not currently in use due to it condition. Space for counting, weighing and holding fish has moved to the recently completed center for Aquatic Resources Management building located at the E. W. Shell Fisheries Center. The roof on the shed is clearly in no shape to house a functional research program. The tanks are poured concrete and, therefore, are permanent. The tanks are not currently housing fish, but are usable if needed. Many requests for repurposing the old counting shed, pending a new roof, to store equipment have been made. Regardless of the outcome, the counting shed has been home to many laughs, tears, successes, and failures and will forever remain a part of Auburn Fisheries.

Article written by Celena Spurgeon, Assistant Director of Social Media Marketing, and Katie Durbin, Director of Social Media Marketing.

Auburn’s Annual Ag Roundup Featured in the Opelika/Auburn News

Annual Ag Roundup features farming and fun



Ag Round up 5

Saturday morning, Miss Lulu the cow cooled off in a special demonstration trailer as crowds gathered to see how Alabama’s milk goes from farm to table. In the booths beside her, little girls in Auburn cheerleading uniforms lassoed hay bales and two baby cows teetered around the petting zoo at the Auburn University College of Agriculture’s annual Ag Roundup.

The Roundup, which took place at the Ag Heritage Park on the university’s campus Saturday, welcomed about 1,500 guests before the Tigers’ homecoming football game.

“The Ag Roundup is put on by the Auburn Agriculture Alumni Association,” explained Sutton Moore Gibbs, the association’s president and a class of ’87 agricultural economics graduate. “This is our big fundraiser for the year.”

For a $5 admission fee, a donation to the college’s scholarship fund, farmers and football fans alike participated in live and silent auctions and enjoyed “all you care to eat” treats from across the state.

“All of [the vendors] have to bring food from Alabama,” Gibbs said. “It’s called ‘A Taste of Alabama.’”

From Conecuh sausage to pecans to applesauce, guests sampled some of the best foods Alabama has to offer, including ice cream.

Representatives at the yellow Blue Bell trailer handed out cups of vanilla ice cream to a constant flow of guests throughout the morning. By 10:30 a.m., just an hour and a half into the event, half of Blue Bell’s 2,500 cups were gone.

“You can’t run out of ice cream on a hot day,” Robert Wood, territory operations manager for Blue Bell, said.

Across the park, junior landscape horticulture major Christopher Combs presented guests with boutonnieres crafted from orange and blue flowers. The Alabama Nursery Landscape Association donated funds and materials for the 400 boutonnieres, and Auburn’s Horticulture Club spent two days making them.

Ag Round up 6

Ag Roundup 2

“A lot of people seem to be wanting to get them to bring them back to their glory days,” Combs said. “A lot of little girls have been getting them, too.”

Pretty flowers and a petting zoo weren’t the only draw for the Roundup’s younger guests. The event also featured a children’s area, complete with an Agriculture in Action demonstration trailer and a painting activity using rubber replicas of different types of Alabama fish.

“We decided to try a children’s area this year,” said Ag Ambassador President and senior in animal sciences Christa Ray. “So far, it’s been really good.” 

 In the children’s area, Manina Harrison, of Hatton, and Maranda Berryman, of Chelsea, watched some of their youngest family members cast fishing lines into a field of plastic fish.

“We come pretty much every year,” Harrison said. “It’s kind of a tradition.”

For Ariton resident Cyndi Barefoot and her son Quincy, an Auburn University freshman majoring in political science, this year’s Ag Roundup was a first.

“I love it,” Barefoot said as she and her son waited in a long line in front of a tent. “I’m not really sure (what we’re waiting for)… We think it’s fish.”

Ag Roundup 4

Ag roundup 3

All morning, vendors dished out food, clubs and organizations hosted demonstrations and country music played over the loudspeaker, interrupted occasionally by a fast-talking, smooth-selling auctioneer.

But one demonstration required a little quiet.

Baxter, a three-and-a-half-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, needed to focus.

“He’s going to go out and look for boxes,” said Animal Health and Performance Program instructor and handler Bart Rogers. “It’s a real-world scenario.”

Baxter quickly sniffed out the hidden explosive powder, sitting proudly by the correct wooden box. Rogers rewarded him with a tennis ball.

Back in the cool of the Ham Wilson Livestock Arena, Gibbs surveyed the silent auction items up for grabs. She said she was excited about how the event has grown over the years.

“Agriculture is very innovative. There’s a lot of technology,” Gibbs added. “Agriculture is not just putting plants in the ground.”

Original article posted by Opelika/Auburn News

Ag roundup




SFAAS is Now on Social Media!


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Auburn SFAAS Professor Featured in the Sept/Oct Issue of The Global Aquaculture Advocate



Carbon Footprint Of Aquaculture















The carbon footprint for aquaculture products results mainly from the use of manufactured feed and mechanical aeration. Because aquaculture ponds sequester carbon, they can be carbon dioxide-neutral.



Rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere associated with global warming have focused interest on carbon footprints. A carbon footprint is an estimate of the total carbon emissions resulting from the production, use and  disposal of a product or service  Carbon footprints for aquaculture products result mainly from  the use of manufactured feed and  me­chanical aeration. Reflecting only about 0.5% of total global  carbon emissions, aquaculture species compare favorably to chicken and pork with respect to carbon footprint.


Carbon Footprint

The carbon dioxide concentration of the earth’s  atmosphere was thought to be about 280 ppm at the beginning of the indus­ trial revolution in the mid-1700s. Increasing use of fossil fuels since  the onset of the revolution increased  the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere to 316 ppm in 1960 and 394 ppm in 2010. In Mauna Loa, Hawaii, USA, the reference site for measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, the first reading above 400 ppm was recorded  in May.

Clouds, water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrousoxide retain  heat radiated by the earth, causing the planet’s temperature to be considerably greater than it would be otherwise. This natural greenhouse effect is exacerbated by increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from air pollution-especially combustion  of fossil fuels.

Carbon dioxide is the major green­ house gas resulting from human activities. The  observed increase in average global surface temperature of0.78• C during  the past century is highly publicized as the result of greater atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Of course, not all scientists entirely agree with this conclusion.

Global Warming Concerns

Global warming and associated climate change are blamed for the melting of polar ice and thermal expansion of the oceans, causing rising sea levels, extreme weather, expansion of subtropical deserts and adverse effects on ecosystems.Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are predicted to continue to increase and have more serious effects in the future on ecosystems and humans.

Moreover, a higher carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere results in more carbon  dioxide in the oceans, causing ocean pH  to decline and increasing the solubility of the carbon­ ate minerals that form the shells of many marine organisms. This does not bode well for many species, including molluscan bivalves of aquaculture  importance.

Global Response

The alarm over global warming has resulted in efforts to lessen carbon emissions through  energy conservation, greater use of fossil fuels with lower carbon emissions, switching from fossil fuels to biofuels and development of alternative solar, wind and water energy resources. There also are efforts to increase carbon sequestration – removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by incorporating it into organic matter or carbonate minerals through  no-till farming, reforestation, landfilling, underground or deep ocean injection, and chemical precipitation. Governments are developing carbon “cap and trade” pro­ grams in which a company is allotted an amount  of carbon emis­sions, and if it does not use all of its allotment,it can sell or trade the remainder. Carbon exchanges – similar to stock markets – have been established  to facilitate such programs. Carbon emis­sion taxes also are imposed  in some countries.

There is an increasing demand  by consumers for products to bear a label revealing their carbon footprint. The carbon foot­ print is an estimate of the total carbon emissions that result from the production, use and disposal of a product. Carbon footprints also can be evaluated for humanity, countries, individuals and services.

Energy Use In Food Production

The Food and Agriculture  Organization (FAO) of theUnited  Nations recently estimated  end use energy for the world food system (Table 1) in which carbon dioxide emissions mir­rored fuel use closely. Expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents, annual emissions from the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated  hydrocarbons used as refrigerants were estimated  at 216 to 270 mmt for capture fisheries and 212 to 220 mmt for aquaculture. Total greenhouse gas emissions from human  activities presently total about 40,000 mmt annually.

Fisheries and aquaculture are minor players, each reflecting about 0.5% of total global carbon emissions. This leads one to wonder if concerns communicated by environmental non-gov­ernmental organizations about carbon dioxide emissions from aquaculture are justifiable.

Of course, energy conservation in aquaculture is wise because it avoids wasteful use of fossil fuels and electricity generated mainly from fossil fuels. Moreover, energy conservation  reduces aquaculture production costs – the major incentive for adoption of energy use reduction practices by producers. Of course, reduction in fossil fuel use also lessens carbon dioxide emissions.


Fisheries and aquaculture are minor players, each reflecting about 0.5% of total global carbon emissions.

Aquatic Species Footprint

The carbon footprints of individual species from capture fish­eries and aquaculture have been reported to range 1-3 kg carbon dioxide/kg meat and 2-7 kg carbon dioxide/kg meat, respectively (Table 2).The greater carbon footprint for aquaculture products results mainly from the use of feed and mechanical aeration.

In carbon footprints for farmed species, the production and transportation of feed ingredients and manufacturing of pelleted diets and their transport to farms contribute 50 to 60% of the car­ bon footprint. Aeration may contribute another 20 to 25% of the footprint. Of course, products from aquaculture systems that do not employ feed or aeration probably have carbon footprints similar to those of products from capture fisheries.

It is interesting to note that aquaculture species compare favorably to chicken and pork with respect to carbon footprint (Table 2). Beef has a much higher carbon footprint than do aquaculture species. Extrapolation of the carbon footprint of the few aquaculture species for which data are available to all aqua­ culture production provides an estimate of about 200 mmt of carbon dioxide equivalent-about the same as the FAO estimate made by a different  method of counting.

One point is overlooked in the computation above- aquacul­ture ponds sequester carbon. Data collected by researchers at Auburn  University suggested that global sequestration of carbon dioxide by aquaculture ponds is about 60.5 mmt annually. When subtracted  from the 200-mmt estimate of gross carbon dioxide emissions, this provides a net emission of about 140 mmt or 0.35% of global emissions. Because a major component of aqua­culture carbon dioxide emissions results from feed ingredient production and feed manufacturing, pond aquaculture often is carbon dioxide neutral or results in net carbon dioxide sequestration at the farm level.


There is no doubt  a basis for concern over excessive use of fossil fuels because the proven reserves of most are adequate for only 50 to 100 years at current global use rates. However, aqua­ culture is such a minor player in global carbon emissions that the efforts by environmental groups to alert the public regarding the carbon footprint of aquaculture could be better used in promoting the development of alternative energy sources. Humanity is facing a very serious conundrum with respect to its energy future. This issue is much more serious than most people -including the scientific community – seem to realize.

 Aquaculture species compare favorably to chicken and pork with respect to carbon footprint.


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