Our Collaboratory

Anne R. KapuscinskiProfessor Anne R. Kapuscinski

Anne R. Kapuscinski is the inaugural Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Sustainability Science and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College. Professor Kapuscinski received her BA in Biology from Swarthmore College in 1976 and MS and PhD degrees in Fisheries from Oregon State University (1980, 1984). Prior to Dartmouth, she was on the faculty of the University of Minnesota (1984-2009) in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, as well as Minnesota Sea Grant Extension Specialist in biotechnology and aquaculture. Her awards include an Honor Award from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for environmental protection (1997), a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation (2001), and the Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology (2008).

Professor Kapuscinski and her students have researched impacts of technology--from dams and hatcheries to aquaculture and genetic engineering--on aquatic biodiversity with an emphasis on fish genetic diversity. Results of this work thrust her into national and international policy arenas on food and environment and marine conservation. These experiences then stimulated Kapuscinski’s pursuit of research on society’s capacity to transition from unsustainable to flourishing interactions with the environment. She has proposed ecological and social criteria for organic aquaculture and led research on participatory scenario learning to address regional sustainability goals. At Dartmouth, she has begun research on integrated food-energy systems and assembled a scientist-practitioner team to study their dynamics, plausible trajectories, and policy context. Her laboratory experiments focus on linkages among tilapia aquaculture and microalgae components of the integrated food-energy system.

Kapuscinski has served as a scientific advisor on the safety of biotechnology to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under three administrations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and the European Union Food Safety Agency. She has advised the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Global Environment Facility, and the state of Minnesota on fish genetic conservation, aquaculture, biotechnology, and environmental planning. She served on the Board of Trustees and chaired the Science Advisory Committee of the WorldFish Center, which conducts research in developing countries. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Kapuscinski is lead editor of a CABI book series, Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms and guest editor of an issue of Biological Invasions on genetic biocontrol of invasive fish (in preparation). She recently submitted scientific comments on an FDA draft environmental assessment for aquaculture of genetically engineered salmon.

Professor Kapuscinski has initiated interdisciplinary programs on environment-society interactions throughout her career. At Dartmouth, she led a team of faculty to establish an undergraduate Sustainability Minor and sits on the Sustainability Steering Committee, co-chairing its working group on culture and learning. She recently began a new role of Co-Editor in Chief of Sustainability Transitions, a domain of the new online journal, Elementa. At Minnesota, she co-founded the Graduate Program in Conservation Biology and an undergraduate Minor in Sustainability Studies. While serving as Associate Director of the MacArthur Program on Global Change, Sustainability and Justice, she co-founded the Institute for Social, Economic and Ecological Sustainability. These efforts fed into formation of the Institute on the Environment, for which she was a Founding Fellow. She also co-led a PhD training program in ecological risk analysis of introduced species and genotypes funded by the National Science Foundation.

Anne enjoys artistic expressions of all kinds, especially live music, theater and indigenous arts. She is definitely a cat person. Her favorite pastimes are sailing, beach walks, hiking, nature photography, reading, making collages, gardening, being with her loving husband and spending time with cherished family and friends around the world.

Selected Publications:

Pallab Sarker, Ph.D.

Pallab Sarker is a Senior Research Associate in Sustainable Fish Nutrition in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College. He is an expert on nutrition of fish and shrimp for aquaculture, including freshwater (rainbow trout, tilapia, Indian major carps, common carp, zebrafish, silver barb) and marine (yellowtail, Japanese flounder and shrimp) species. His research interests span fish nutrition, physiology and aquaculture including nutrient requirements of fish; evaluation of ingredients for digestibility and formulation of nutritionally balanced, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective diets; and impacts of nutrition on fish physiology and gene expression.

Dr. Sarker received his B.Sc in Fisheries and M.S. in Fisheries Technology from Bangladesh Agricultural University (1994, 1998). He received the Japanese Government Scholarship (Monbukagakusho) for his graduate studies in Japan, leading to his M.Sc. (2004, Lab of Fish Nutrition, Kochi University) and Ph.D. (2007, United Graduate School of Agriculture, Ehime University). His research in Japan focused on nutritional strategies to reduce environmental impacts of fish culture by changing feed formulations to meet nutrient requirements and incorporating enzymes into diets of Japanese flounder and yellowtail.

As a postdoctoral researcher at Laval University, Canada (2008-2012) he conducted and coordinated the following aquaculture nutrition and physiology core research programs: 1) optimization of the composition of practical diets for rainbow trout aquaculture – including studies on alternative feedstuffs to reduce reliance on fish meal and fish oil and on strategies to minimize phosphorous and nitrogen loading and contaminants in aquaculture wastes; 2) effects of vitamin (biotin) on growth, survival, biotin deficiency syndrome, and gene expression of Nile tilapia and zebrafish; and 3) strategies to prevent off-flavors in rainbow trout raised in recirculating aquaculture systems in order to improve the quality of both the farmed fish and water resources.

Dr. Sarker was a Scientific Officer at the Brackishwater Station in Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (1998-2002) where he conducted research in adaptive aquaculture and practical aspects of fish/shrimp nutrition. He initiated and led shrimp feed formulation research from locally available fishmeal and alternative feed ingredients for sustainable development of this industry in Bangladesh. His research on integrated rice-fish farming led to the dissemination of genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) and common carps in coastal regions of Bangladesh. As workshop/seminar coordinator at the Brackishwater Station, he led the dissemination of aquaculture technology working with stakeholders such as the shrimp/fish industry, regulatory agencies, educators and the public, businesses, consumers, local communities, and academic and federal scientists.

He is a member of the manuscript review committee of the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition and the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society.

Dr. Sarker’s current research at Dartmouth investigates the digestibility of different microalgae species and their incorporation in tilapia feed formulae to replace fish meal and fish oil towards improved sustainability of aquafeeds while assuring human health benefits of fish raised on these diets. Global consumer demand for fish products is predicted to grow, with aquaculture filling the shortfall from static or declining capture fisheries. Sustainably produced and nutritionally complete aquafeeds must keep pace with consumer demand for edible fish. However, over-reliance of the aquaculture industry on marine-derived fish meal and fish oil has raised concerns regarding negative impacts on reduction fisheries and marine ecosystems. Terrestrial oil seed and grain are now used as alternative lipid and protein sources in commercial aquafeeds but pose nutritional and environmental problems due to low levels of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, unbalanced essential amino acid compositions, and high levels of anti-nutritional factors. Phytate-bound phosphorous in these terrestrial feedstuffs is largely undigested by fish and ends up in fish culture effluents contributing to eutrophication. Over-reliance on these plant resources also embroils aquaculture in concerns about massive use of croplands to produce animal feeds instead of food for direct human consumption.

These issues have created a strong incentive for research on environmentally sustainable feedstuffs as alternatives to marine-derived fishmeal and fish oil. Dr. Sarker’s current research thus investigates the use of microalgae as alternative feedstuffs, as well as incorporation of microalgae-based diets into integrated food energy systems. He is a member of Dartmouth’s Team IFES.

Selected Publications:

Graduate Students

Tyler Pavlowich, PhD Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Education: BS from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in Biology, 2005

Tyler’s research aims to contribute to the understanding of dynamics between social and ecological systems: how humans affect and are affected by ecosystems. He plans to address these questions in Buen, Hombre Dominican Republic. In the summer of 2012, Tyler traveled to Buen Hombre—a community of 600 residents on the northwestern coast of the country—to assess the status and functioning of coral reef fisheries accessed by artisanal fishermen. He performed fish-community surveys, benthic assessments, catch surveys, and social research on how the fishing system in Buen Hombre operates. Coral reef ecosystems harbor tremendous biodiversity, perform important functions in the biogeochemical cycles of the planet, and provide the foundation upon which humans create unique and diverse relationships with nature. His dissertation work will include modeling fish population dynamics to help the community and resource managers establish harvest guidelines and promote ecosystem recovery. He will study the effects of artisanal fishing on the coral-reef ecosystem, the impacts of reef resources on human wellbeing, and how stressors, like overfishing and climate change, affect the adaptive capacity of the community and ecosystem. When Tyler can't be snorkeling at the beach or fishing, he enjoys basketball and stoking the wood stove.


Marcus Welker, PhD Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Education: BS from University of Alaska Anchorage in Natural Sciences, 2009; MSc from King's College London in Aquatic Resource Management, 2010
Awards: National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (NSF EAPSI), June 12 - August 22, 2012; Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results Fellowship (EPA STAR), beginning Fall 2012

In college, Marcus was first exposed to conflicts between natural resource extraction, fisheries, climate change, and indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. His thesis examined the climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies of Tatabanya, Hungary and Tromso, Norway and culminated in a collaborative process to draft Anchorage’s first Carbon Action Plan, identifying local and regional climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and public policy actions. For his MSc thesis, Marcus initiated an Anchorage Adopt-A-Stream program that gives community members the opportunity to directly participate in improvement of salmon habitat quality.

These days at Dartmouth, Marcus is continuing to explore his interests in fisheries studying Atlantic salmon imprinting, homing, and restoration in New England and Quebec. He hopes to identify why hatchery supplementation to create river-runs and naturally reproducing populations has failed in the past and improve hatchery rearing and outplanting techniques. Marcus is conducting three studies: 1) exploring the spatial and temporal variability of amino acid compositions and concentrations in salmon streams (NSF EAPSI- Japan); 2) testing if Atlantic salmon imprint and home to amino acids present in stream waters (EPA STAR); and 3) investigating the molecular mechanisms for amino acid olfaction in Atlantic salmon. Restoring river-runs of Atlantic salmon would provide numerous ecosystem services to the Lake Champlain basin, while also strengthening the environment and economy. When Marcus isn’t splashing around in rivers collecting water samples, tracking down fish, and getting his tan on, he is exploring the vast wilderness of New England, riding his bike (or fixing it, because he tends to break it), or playing in the snow.

Research Assistants

Alexander Sitek, Research Assistant (2014-present) Education: BS from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania in Biology with concentrations in Fisheries Biology, Environmental Biology, and a minor in Chemistry

Alex works with the Kapuscinski lab to further explore sustainable fish feed and integrated food energy systems (IFES). He maintains the broodstock tilapia at the Dartmouth Organic Farm and assists Professor Kapuscinski and her team with their ongoing research. Alex says that most rewarding experience working with this lab is, "the scientific approach to solve real world problems in an effectively sustainable manner". Outside of the lab, Alex enjoys keeping aquariums, scuba diving, fishing, hunting, camping, and reading books.

Mariah Coley '11, Research Assistant (2013-2014)
Education: BA from Dartmouth College in Classics, Studio Art with digital photography concentration

Mariah supports the Kapuscinski lab group's research in sustainable fish feeds for tilapia aquaculture, maintains the tilapia stocks at the Dartmouth Organic Farm and assists Professor Kapuscinski with Chair activities and the administration of the Sustainability Minor. The most exciting aspect of the work is the emphasis on integrated approaches to problem-solving: "Real-world sustainability questions are naturally a tangle of science, economics, communications, social issues and politics, and I think that addressing each of these as a part of the system is the best way to make progress." Mariah hopes to pursue a career in sustainability using this integrated approach. Outside, Mariah is often rock climbing, running or throwing a frisbee for her dog, but in bad weather she also loves experimental cooking, drawing cartoons and listening to NPR.

Alison Lanois '15, James O Freedman Presidential Scholar

Major: Environmental Studies, Geography

Alison has been assisting with the ongoing fish diet experiment which involves replacing fish oil with a more sustainable algae alternative. Among other things, she been involved with caring for the fish, experimental set up, and making fish food. She is a member of the Dartmouth cross country team and a distance runner on the track team, as well as a FCA student leader and a member of Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority. She enjoys hiking and skiing in her free time. Fun Fact: She has a long-haired gray cat named Squirrel.

Katie Bernhard '15, Research Assistant

Major: Environmental Studies, Ethics Minor

Katie spent the summer 2013 working with tilapia to determine the effect of replacing fish meal and fish oil in commercial feed with microalgae. This could have important implications for sustainability in aquaculture, which uses energy-intensive and unsustainable fishing methods to obtain fish meal and fish oil for feed. This fall, she will also begin research on how the pH of tilapia stomachs breaks down microalgae. Katie believes that sustainable aquaculture and IFES will be increasingly important for energy and food security around the world as the technology advances. She loves applying knowledge from her research to her Environmental Studies classes. Eventually, Katie wants to pursue a career in environmental law or energy and agriculture policy. Outside the lab or when she is home in Park City, Utah, Katie loves skiing, mountain bike racing, and ceramics! She is also studying arabic at Dartmouth and is looking foward to traveling to Fez, Morocco to learn more.

Erin Livesey '15, James O Freedman Presidential Scholar
Major: Environmental Studies, Pre-Vet

Erin supports Dartmouth Team IFES' laboratory feeding experiments. She helps look after the daily needs of the tilapia, conducts literature research on tilapia feeding behavior, and is developing an experiments to determine the pH of tilapia stomachs. Dartmouth Team IFES is exploring the integration of food and energy production by utilizing valuable waste materials. Erin loves animal care in general and is passionate about finding ways to eat sustainably. With aquaculture as the fastest-growing animal production industry, Erin thinks it is imperative that we find a way to farm fish sustainably. Down the road, she would "love, love, love" to be a wildlife veterinarian working in conservation, whether it be in Africa, Thailand, or a zoo. Outside the lab, she loves to explore fun places around the Upper Valley with friends, make funky foods, and find cute pictures of animals. Fun Fact: She's hand-fed a polar bear a jelly bean-yikes!

Madi Gamble '13, Senior Honors Thesis

Madi completed her senior honors thesis on the digestibility of phosphorus in microalgae-based tilapia feeds with the Kapuscinski lab in 2013. Her work was a component of Pallab Sarker’s larger digestibility study investigating the feasibility of replacing fishmeal and fish oil in tilapia feed with microalgae. Using fishmeal and fish oil in aquaculture feed is both economically and environmentally unsustainable, as these ingredients are very expensive and come from overharvested stocks of forage fish that form the base of fragile marine food webs in the wild. Altering feed formulation is vital to improving the sustainability of aquaculture, and replacing fishmeal and fish oil with microalgae, which has the potential to be grown cheaply and sustainably, may be one step in the right direction.

When she’s not feeding fish, Madi loves running, sailing, skiing, and generally being outside. Currently she’s working in the Water, Natural Resources, and Ecotoxicology division at EA Engineering, an environmental consulting firm, and she hopes to continue studying fish biology and ecology someday in graduate school!

Bonita Langle '13, Senior Honors Thesis

For information on past collaboratory contributors CLICK HERE.


See more information about our various research collaborations here.

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