Aquaculture is the farming of fish, shellfish and plants in controlled environments, such as hatcheries or fish farms. The location of the college or university offering an online degree program in aquaculture will determine the courses offered, since studies can vary according to whether a program focuses on cold or warm water environments and freshwater or saltwater species.
While students can complete the majority of course work online, some programs require field assignments on campus or at a county extension facility. There is an online Master of Fisheries and Aquatic Science program that can completely entirely in a distance format, if a fully online degree is optimal. Programs are available at the undergraduate certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master's level.
Aquaculture Program Overview
Students in online degree programs focus on aquaculture's commercial aspects as well as the environmental concerns posed by the genetic modification and disease prevention techniques that are often used to increase productivity.
Introductory Course Topics
Introductory courses such as water science discuss water properties, water chemistry and water quality. Other courses in marine aquaculture and crustacean aquaculture introduce students to varying species through topics in anatomy and physiology. Often additional courses in biology and chemistry are required.
Advanced Course Topics
Advanced coursework is divided between topics in facilities management and fish health. Students study the different aquaculture facilities that are used for fisheries and hatcheries in courses such as hatchery management, small impound management or reservoir limnology. Topics include the construction and stocking of ponds for recreational fishing or the control of vegetation in commercial recirculating systems. Methods for treating water and sediment quality are also discussed.
Since fish health is essential to aquaculture productivity, students also take several courses in fish health, genetics, nutrition and disease. Students study factors affecting a species' yield such as how waste changes chemical factors in their environment. Also discussed is the prevention of parasites and diseases. Courses in genetic enhancement explore the environmental impact of modifying a species to increase its commercial appeal.
About Online Learning
Online courses are often offered in asynchronous formats, allowing students to complete studies at their convenience. Some courses may integrate synchronized components, such as real-time chat sessions via virtual discussion forums. Online students may be able to watch instructors in laboratory settings through prerecorded or streaming video sessions.
Aquaculture distance learning programs will focus on a variety of key aquaculture topics, though specific advanced courses are likely to vary depending on the location of the program. Students can expect to learn about topics like water chemistry, fish anatomy, and hatchery management.