Milford Lab: Outreach and Partnerships
Much of the research conducted by the Aquaculture & Enhancement Division has direct application to the shellfish industry, many of whom do not read peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. Accordingly, we have sought ways to transfer knowledge and skills directly to the shellfish-aquaculture community and the community as a whole. Details of some of our current outreach and partnership activities can be found below.
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The NOAA Fisheries Milford Lab holds an open house annually in October to reach students and the community. The open house is a unique opportunity for the public to tour an active fisheries lab, interact with scientists, and see first-hand the types of research projects that are conducted and how they serve the shellfish aquaculture industry and the wider community. The lab is divided into a series of interactive stations, each demonstrating a research topic, and each with a scientist on hand to present the material and answer questions. Hands on activities are available for all age groups; highlights include the “Touch Tank”, an ocean chemistry experiment, fish printing, and the lab’s history.
The first day of the open house is designated for local and regional school groups. As many as 500 students, from all grade levels, tour the lab in small groups. Often the school groups have completed related Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curricula or projects, or bring study aids to complement their visit. This event both enhances learning in ocean science and provides an opportunity for career exploration. On the second day, the general public is invited to visit and tour the lab at their own pace; families, community groups, and curious community members are welcome. We hope you will consider a visit during our next open house.
The first Milford Aquaculture Seminar (MAS) was held in 1975. It was a small gathering of Milford researchers and shellfish growers who convened to discuss issues of concern to the aquaculture industry. Since then, the meeting has expanded in size and breadth to include the scientific and academic communities, industry, ecosystem managers and the public.
The MAS is held every January. In even-numbered years, the meeting is held in Southern Connecticut. In odd-numbered years, MAS is held jointly with the Northeast Aquaculture Conference and Expo (NACE). The next joint MAS/NACE joint meeting will be in January 2019 in Boston MA.
For information on past meetings, visit the meeting archive »
The Flatfish Biology Conference welcomes platform and poster presentations addressing any aspect of flatfish research (e.g., biology, ecology, aquaculture, stock assessment, physiology etc.) from all regions and international locales. First held in 1986, the conference is convened by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) every 2-3 years, and facilitates information transfer among scientists and between research facilities. A steering committee comprising NEFSC and non-NEFSC scientists provide oversight. Conference proceedings are published as an online NEFSC Reference Document to ensure access to the agenda and abstracts and for historical documentation. The next Flatfish Biology Conference will be held December 4th and 5th, 2018, in Westbrook, CT. Professional and student flatfish researchers are invited to participate.
Held (nearly) annually, the 2-day Milford Microalgal Culture Workshop combines lectures with hands-on, laboratory activities to build knowledge and skills necessary to: 1) perpetuate stock cultures, 2) scale up cultures for feeding in the hatchery, 3) manage production cultures, and 4) make informed decisions about how much of what kind of algae to produce to feed broodstock, larvae, and post-set shellfish. Over the past 12 years more than 150 individuals from commercial, extension, academic, and government organizations have participated in the Workshop; there is no charge, but participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging.
For more information contact Gary Wikfors.
Researchers from the Milford Laboratory have a long history of collaborating with the two regional aquaculture high schools located in Milford’s vicinity. Collaborative efforts with the Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science and Technology Education Center have focused on shellfish aquaculture research, while the majority of research conducted with the Sound School in New Haven has focused on finfish aquaculture. Students from both of these programs regularly present their projects at the annual Milford Aquaculture Seminar, and many have returned post-graduation to participate in summer research internships at the lab.
The objective of the project is to share technology and experience on how environmental conditions affect survival and production of aquacultured oysters through effects upon the oyster immune system. Milford researchers work with colleagues from Korea's National Institute of Fisheries Science on applying oyster blood-cell analysis using flow-cytometry to assessments of immune-system capacity of oysters in Korean growing areas. National Institute of Fisheries Science staff work with Milford colleagues to apply tools of molecular biology to assessments of health status of oysters in US growing waters. The result is expected to be more-complete assessments of oyster health, combining both approaches, to better manage oyster aquaculture in both nations.
For more information, contact Gary Wikfors
The Milford Laboratory has had a long-standing (25 years) history of collaboration with colleagues in France on topics relevant to shellfish aquaculture. Together we have made important advances in understanding the biochemical nutritional requirements of oysters and other shellfish in the hatchery and nursery, developed flow-cytometric methods to assess the immune status of shellfish, researched best-management practices to minimize the risk of spreading invasive, harmful microalgae through aquaculture activities, and led the world in identifying interactions between harmful algae and shellfish. Through Workshops and exchanges of students, post-docs, and professionals, we have worked side-by-side on questions relevant to improving the sustainability of shellfish aquaculture in both nations. At present, we have three specific areas of interaction: 1) Shellfish and harmful algae (with IUEM LEMAR), 2) Sustainable shellfish aquaculture development (with IFREMER), and 3) Mollusc feeding requirements (IUEM LEMAR).
For more information, contact Gary Wikfors.