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What's Happening at WARU


The primary research emphasis is genetic improvement of catfish leading to the development and release of improved germplasm to commercial producers and solving water quality problems limiting production and affecting catfish flavor quality. The release of the NWAC103 catfish line was completed in early 2002 and has been one of the major impacts from unit research.  The breeding program now implements a multi-trait selection program with the goal of improving multiple traits simultaneously in a catfish line.  In summary the major issues are: 1) continue to improve and obtain performance documentation on the unit's improved catfish lines selected for multiple traits (growth, disease resistance, processing yield, and reproductive performance), 2) document performance and impact of NWAC103 line released to commercial producers and provide technology support, 3) continue to increase the number of genetic markers on the unit's high-density genetic linkage map and identify markers linked to specific traits.

The Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit research is performed at two facilities on the Stoneville campus.  The WARU hatchery facility contains tanks for fish rearing, a sample processing laboratory, and office space.  We also maintain forty seven 1/10 acre ponds, twenty 8 acre ponds, fourteen 1 acre ponds, and five 2 acre earthen ponds.  In the Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Building operated by Mississippi State University, the WARU maintains six multi-user laboratories and office space.  

The co-location of unit scientists with MAFES scientists at the Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center promotes daily interactions between state and federal scientists, extension specialists, and scientists in the diagnostic laboratory.  Cooperative research projects are funded through specific cooperative agreements with Mississippi State University Forestry and Agricultural Experiment Station and College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, the University of Mississippi National Center for Physical Acoustics.  Collaborative research projects are also conducted with other ARS scientists at the USDA, ARS Fish Health Laboratory (Auburn, AL), the USDA, ARS H. K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center (Stuttgart, AR), and the Food Flavor Quality Research Unit (New Orleans, LA).

ARS News Articles

Catfish Genome: A New Tool to Help Improve Catfish Products
Apr 28, 2017
Fish Reared in Hard Water are More Susceptible to Columnaris Disease
Jun 23, 2015
Catfish Industry Embraces USDA Pond Management Research
Jan 24, 2014
Lending a Hand in Hybrid Catfish Production
Dec 05, 2013
USDA Researchers Seek New Ways to Boost Catfish Production
Nov 22, 2010
Fish-Killing Toxin Could Kill Cancer Cells
Sep 08, 2009
Inventors Win ARS Technology Transfer Honors
Feb 11, 2009
ARS Honors Top Scientists for 2006
Mar 06, 2007
Genetic Findings Could Boost Catfish Quality and Grower Profits
Jan 29, 2007
Research Agency Announces Top Scientists for 2004
Feb 09, 2005