Milford Lab Outreach, Partnerships, and Collaborations
With a focus on domestic seafood production, the Milford Lab continues to be a world leader in aquaculture science. The lab conducts research that informs the management and expansion of sustainable aquaculture, as well as seeks to understand interactions between aquaculture practices and the environment.
Much of the research conducted at the Milford Laboratory by the Ecosystems & Aquaculture Division has direct application to the shellfish industry. Many in the shellfish aquaculture industry are too busy running their businesses to read our peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. Accordingly, we have sought ways to transfer knowledge and skills directly to the shellfish aquaculture community and to engage the community as a whole about aquaculture science.
Milford Lab Open House
2024 Date to be Announced
The NOAA Fisheries Milford Lab holds an open house annually to reach students and the community. Our most recent in person open house was held on September 30, 2023. In 2020, our open house went virtual. We made a NOAALive! Webinar entitled, "Science on the Half Shell: Behind the Scenes at the Milford Fisheries Laboratory".
The open house is a unique opportunity for the public to tour a 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 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 community is invited to visit and tour the lab at their own pace; families, community groups, and curious people everywhere are welcome. We hope you will consider a visit during our next open house.
Milford Aquaculture Seminar
January 10-12, 2024
The 43rd Milford Aquaculture Seminar / 25th Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Expo will be held January 10-12, 2024 in Providence, Rhode Island. For registration and more information, visit the website.
The Milford Aquaculture Seminar is typically held every January. It is held in conjunction with the Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Expo every other year.
The first Milford Aquaculture Seminar was held in 1975, when a small group of Milford researchers and shellfish growers 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.
For more information, please contact Lisa Milke.
A 2 to 4 week program for fourth-year veterinary students from diverse backgrounds who want to explore aquaculture medicine research and policy.
While there is no formal internship program at the Milford Lab, we work with undergraduate and graduate students through several NOAA opportunities, including:
Visit the NOAA Office of Education's student opportunities website for more information.
Milford Microalgal Culture Workshop
January 12-13, 2023
Usually held annually, the 2-day Milford Microalgal Culture Workshop combines lectures with hands-on laboratory activities to build knowledge and skills necessary to:
- Perpetuate stock cultures
- Scale up cultures for feeding in a shellfish hatchery
- Manage production cultures
- 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.
Flatfish Biology Conference
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. Professional and student flatfish researchers are invited to participate.
First held in 1986, the conference is convened by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center 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 most recent Flatfish Biology Conference was held in Westbrook, Connecticut, on November 15 and 16, 2022.
Partnerships with Regional High Schools
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 through NOAA undergraduate programs.
Epibiotic Communities on Kelp - Collaboration with GreenWave
Scientists at the Milford Lab are partnering with GreenWave, a New Haven-based non-profit focused on ocean farming, to study the epiphytes and epifauna that grow on aquacultured sugar kelp. This project aims to provide data to kelp farmers that will allow them to maximize production without compromising the quality of their product due to biofouling. The project uses visual identification, microscopic examination, TCBS (Thiosulfate-Citrate-Bile-Sucrose Agar) culture, and next generation sequencing to document the macroscopic (e.g., hydroids, algae) and microscopic (bacteria, microalgae, and microzooplankton) organisms inhabiting the surface of kelp blades. The project includes surveillance for microbial species of human health concern. Samples are taken from a local kelp farm throughout the growing season to document how epibiotic communities vary with temperature and season.
US-France, NOAA-IFREMER Bilateral Agreement on Oceanography
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.
US-Korea Joint Coordination Panel for Aquaculture Cooperation Project
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.