Suds to Shrimp

Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) solve several vexing problems with aquaculture, specifically water usage and untreated nutrient waste. Opportunities for RAS in Maine are rapidly expanding, with several large commercial RAS facilities slated to open in the next few years, and many smaller-scale aquaponics operations in development or opening soon. We intend to prepare our students for employment in RAS, aquaponics, and aquaculture through curriculum and research based on our expertise in Environmental Science (water quality, ecology, environmental policy and regulations), strong problem-solving skills, and an environmental ethic.


We see considerable opportunities for growth, including:

1. Student exchanges

2. Expanding our research facilities

3. Assisting start-up operations in Maine and beyond, and

4. Developing a certificate in RAS and Aquaponics.


Whole Oceans

University of Maine

Alewife Harvesters of Maine

Theodore Willis

Associate Adjunct Research Faculty

Dr. Willis has a PhD in Limnology and Oceanography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution and Organism Biology from Tulane University. He has worked for many years on the ecology and management of alewife as a research scientist and with the Passamaquoddy First Nation on fisheries development and climate change. Dr. Willis serves on the board of the Alewife Harvesters of Maine as science adviser. Since 2015, Dr. Willis has been a collaborator on SEANET (Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network), a state-wide grant focused on increasing aquaculture capacity in Maine. Recently he applied his knowledge of fish ecology to the development of USM’s Aquaponics and Recirculating Aquaculture Systems Lab, along with associated curriculum for a RAS certification. These activities have been supported by SEANET and grants from Poland Spring, the USDA, and USM.