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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit » Research » Research Project #438098

Research Project: Hill Area Aquaculture

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Project Number: 6066-31000-016-019-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2020
End Date: Jun 30, 2025

To investigate and solve problems pertaining to aquaculture operations in the Mississippi Hill Area, including issues related to: production efficiency, operational procedures (i.e., improving growth and reducing stress and disease) and water quality. Further, to provide species diversification options for greater long-term economic stability.

The project will resolve issues of importance to the Eastern Mississippi aquaculture industry in the areas of production efficiency, environmental and disease-related stress, reproduction and water quality by conducting experiments in the laboratory and in research ponds at the Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center (NWAC) Eastern Research Unit, on commercial farms, and in collaboration with the USDA ARS Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit and the NWAC Delta Research Unit in Stoneville, MS. Goals of the project are to improve aquaculture practices based on an understanding of physiological capacity to respond and adapt to environmental conditions and operational stressors, to compare the physiology of channel, blue and hybrid catfish to guide trait development and strain selection, and to improve market stability by developing practices for the culture of alternative species. Specific activities include: Determining the effects of hypoxia on channel and hybrid catfish; examining physiological responses, neuropeptide regulation of appetite, and determining best management practices to alleviate appetite suppression and improve health; Determining the adaptive capacity of channel, blue and hybrid catfish via comparison of metabolic activity and blood-gas equilibrium curves under a range of temperatures to understand adaptability and limitations in different environmental conditions; Determine responses of fingerling and market-sized catfish to environmental and culture stressors, such as water quality (temperature, dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations, pH, ammonia and nitrite concentrations), handling and harvest practices to guide best management practices to improve health and survival; Collaborate with scientists at the National Warmwater Aquaculture Center to understand impacts of pathogens on the physiology of channel and hybrid catfish; Determine maternal and paternal influences on gamete quality and the duration of these influences on survival and performance (e.g., growth, feed conversion, metabolic rate); Establish methods for culture of alternative species, and for potential species as biological control agents of snails in culture ponds for natural control of snail-borne pathogens.