We ended our trip in Berlin, Germany. We had time for a quick look at the history of the Berlin wall and a lovely boat ride on the Spree. This 1.5-hour tour follows the Spree River from West to East through the city center of Berlin. The cruise starts next to the beautiful Charlottenburg Palace and brings you along the Spree River through the entire city center.
What we didn’t anticipate was that the Berlin Marathon would be occuring that day and it was near impossible to get out of the city. After lots of “help” from some police officers, we finally found our way to Hamburg for the flight home.
It was a fantastic trip that resulted in a better understanding the the aquaculture industry in Germany and the expansion of contacts necessary to explore joint research and development projects.
Our final destination was the Aquaculture Facility near Saarbrucken, Germany. This amazing salt water recirculating aquaculture system is a multi-trophic RAS rearing European Seabasss, Sea Bream and Sturgeon. They are also experimenting with hydroponic production of halopytes (salt-loving plants) to reduce carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous in the system. Dr. Uwe Waller was our host. He is a professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Saarbrucken. The University collaborates with the private fish farming operation, providing R&D for the facility in an on-site research laboratory. The focus of the research is on low-head, fully automated systems, algae photo-bioreactors and foam fractionation.
A majority of our time was spent on the Autobahn moving between locations. The hundreds of windmills along the roadside was awe-inspiring. We had fun trying to figure out the “rules of the road.” It didn’t take long to figure out that you have to pay to use the facilities at the rest areas, but the service is worth it with their automated cleaning capabilities. The various signs and instructions in German were challenging, but part of the fun. I recall one trip to an unattended gas station where we couldn’t figure out how to pump gas as the instruction were only in German. A helpful bicyclist came to our rescue on that occasion.
After a meeting at the Team Gemini offices to discuss what we had seen/discovered so far in our trip, we took the morning off to do some sightseeing. We first visited the lovely Baltic Sea resort Warnemünde which lies in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, at the top of Rostock. We got to visit the beautiful lighthouse, the “teapot” and port area and walk around the old town where the sea captains have lived for generations. Next we traveled to Rostock to learn about it’s history as a walled city, it’s role in World War II and appreciate it’s lovely architecture. An old church in the downtown area, the Marienkirche, is one of the highlights to visit in central Rostock. Built in the gothic style and on that site since the 13th century, the inside is one of the real historical gems in the city. It’s highly recommended you get there for 12 midday to see the astronomical clock strike midday as the small statues of the disciples are blessed into Heaven by Jesus and Judas has the door to eternity slammed in his face. The lower wheels of the clock give you the position of the sun and moon as well as the dates for Easter for years into the past and future.The trip to an old church was a highlight, with it’s unique German Clock telling time and stories for generations. We also took time to sample a local favorite, Bratwurst with Curry.
It’s my habit to take pictures of fish for sale whenever I get the chance. After our trip to the Institute of Fisheries in Born, we stopped by at a roadside stand for a fish sandwich. Fish is higher priced in Europe than in the US. It is also sold by the 100 gram portion, about 1/4 of a pound or 5 oz, the proper serving size. The stand was replete with a reed roof, a construction technique popular and unique to the area. We saw many of the reeds growing wild as well. According to locals, the reed roofs can last up to 20 years.
Zander fillet – 3.95 Euro for 100 grams. That is $22.00/lb.
Asian Seabass fillets 2.43 Euro/100 g. That is $13.66/lb.
Zander is a European perch and a close relative to our native yellow perch.
Traditional German Reed Roof.
Our next stop was the Institute for Fisheries in Born, Germany, where we met Dr. Ralf Bochert. Dr. Bochert gave us a tour of the research facility. Our first stop was to the Born Trout rearing building. The Born trout is a variation of trout developed by artificial selection. It survives in brackish water and is tolerant of poor water quality. It can also tolerate higher water temperatures that a typical rainbow trout. Some call it the “champagne of trout” for its rich, fatty taste.
The research center features a state of the art indoor recirculating aquaculture system used to conduct research on trout, pikeperch and sturgeon. The facilites were amazing and the research designed to optimize of aquaculture techniques in fresh and brackish water.
Recirculating Aquaculture System for research.
The OSU/Gemini Team meeting with Dr. Bochert.
Dr. Bochert shows us the Born Trout fingerlings.
THe team learns more about research at the University of Rostock
After an uneventful flight from Columbus Ohio to Hamburg, Germany, we rented a car and made our way towards Rostock. In Rostock, we visited the University of Rostock, where we met with Professor Palm and listened to a brief overview of their research program there. Professor Palm is a fish parasitologist with a research focus on aquaculture, the interaction of aquaculture and the environment (aquaponics), and parasitology and disease. He also does a little fish nutrition work in relation to how it impacts fish disease and the environment. He is currently working with Mr. Knauss Ulrich to develop an economical aquaponics system in a glass greenhouse being constructed on campus. His species of interest is currently Clarius Garipenis, an african catfish. Dr. Palm suggested some opportunites for collaborative research including use of clay as a feed additive in rainbow trout diets, use of Non-GMO soy protein in recirculating aquaculture systems and exploring a student exchange program. Professor Palm’s students require a 2-3 month practical research internship. The student pays the airfare and support, but would require housing.
Max getting help from a Fraulein at the Rental Car agency.
Typical German neighborhood by our hotel.
A common mode of transportation in Germany
A team representing the Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center (OBIC) at The Ohio State University will be visiting Germany in September of 2014 to learn more about German aquaculture and explore opportunities to collaborate. The tour is being organized by OBIC’s Industry partner, Team Gemini. The OSU group includes Richard “Max” Maksimoski, Industrial Liaison for OBIC, Dr. Ram Lalgudi, Senior Research Scientist with Battelle, and Dr. Laura Tiu, Director of the Aquaculture Extension Program at Ohio State University. Team Gemini is a company dedicated to developing sustainability through renewables, recycling and agriculture. The two groups have been working together on an international project and are ready to explore joint research initiatives to support ongoing development efforts. This tour will be the start of an ongoing relationship to coordinate and conduct quality research to support the OSU-Team Gemini effort.