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October 27, 2014
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Dean Perry giving demonstration
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Researcher Dean Perry demonstrates how carbon dioxide interacts with seawater to lower pH at the 2014 Milford Laboratory Open House October 17-18. Photo Credit: Ronald Goldberg, NEFSC/NOAA

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Milford Laboratory Open House Attracts More than 800 Visitors

The annual Open House at Milford Laboratory attracted an estimated 800 people over two days, as visitors took advantage of the opportunity to see the facility on the shore of Long Island Sound and learn about research topics like ocean acidification, aquaculture and the environment, and shellfish genetics.

Friday, October 17, was designed for invited local and regional school groups from all grade levels. More than 400 students, teachers and chaperones from Milford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Fairfield and other communities in the region, along with groups from the University of New Haven and the University of Rhode Island, toured the facility in small groups.

More than 300 members of the general public toured the facility at their own pace on Saturday, October 18, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The lab was divided into a series of stations, each summarizing a research topic, and each with a researcher on hand to present material and answer questions.

Current research topics included ocean acidification, nutrient bioextraction, aquaculture and the environment, algal culture, shellfish genetics, probiotics, and plankton ecology. The touch tank and fish printing activities were favorite stations during the day.

“On more than one occasion we heard visitors say things like 'I’ve lived here my whole life and never knew what you did in the Lab,’ or 'We walk by every day and finally decided to come visit'," said Mark Dixon, who helped organize the Open House. “To me, this is one of the primary reasons for continuing to offer this opportunity to the community.”

Families from the local communities, representatives of several Connecticut town shellfish commissions, retired scientists, local fishermen, members of the neighboring Milford Yacht Club, teachers, college students and recent graduates were among the visitors on Saturday.

During both days, there was a good flow of questions and answers, and side conversations with visitors, Dixon said. “The staff was supportive and very involved in preparing for and presenting their work at the annual Open House. It was a real team effort and I am proud of how we communicated our work to the general public.”

Milford Laboratory, part of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, was founded in 1931 and is focused on aquaculture and habitat-related research. Techniques and products developed at the laboratory are used worldwide by the aquaculture industry.

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