Environmental Science Basics


Basic Science


Central to good science are accurate observations, testable hypotheses, well-designed experiments or other tests, and reasonable data analyses. The purpose of Laboratory 1 is to introduce you to the basics of designing and analyzing experiments. The following two laboratory exercises will provide you with further steps in organizing and analyzing data. Many interesting experiments are impossible to do in a normal undergraduate science laboratory setting. For this reason, your introduction to designing an experiment that has relevance in “the real world” involves a computer simulation. The program involves a growing industry, that of farming fish. What is your favorite kind of fish to eat? Catfish? Salmon? Perhaps a nice, sleek trout? Chances are pretty good that the fish you ate last, unless you or a friend caught it, was the product of a fish farm. One of the most promising technologies for providing the growing human population with high quality protein foods is aquaculture, sometimes called “fish farming”. Aquaculture is the managed production of plants and animals that live in bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds. Salmon, trout, shrimp, clams, oysters, and seaweed are all common products. Many of the fish served in restaurants or sold in grocery stores were grown in such “fish farms”. Although it has been practiced since ancient times, aquaculture has become particularly significant in the last forty years as the rapid increase in the world population has expanded the need for inexpensive, high-yield foods. Over the last ten years, world aquaculture production has expanded nearly 11% per year and it is now one of the fastest growing segments in agriculture. This rapid increase is due, in part, to an expansion in the number of aquaculture businesses, but it is also aided by a growing understanding of the optimum conditions needed for producing more and larger fish.