Louisiana Sea Grant techniques, equipment to improve Alabama hatchery’s production of oyster larvae

High-density oyster larval culture equipment at the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Research Laboratory, which serves as a model for the techniques being adopted by the Auburn University Shellfish Lab. Photo credit: John Supan

(DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala.) — In an effort to improve survival of oyster larvae grown at the Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory, scientists are adopting innovative techniques developed by John Supan of the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Research Laboratory. These high-density larval culture techniques will allow for tighter control of production conditions.

This effort to help the new off-bottom oyster farming industry in the northern Gulf of Mexico is being funded by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission with support from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Louisiana Sea Grant.

Currently, Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory is one of only a handful of hatcheries producing oyster larvae and seed in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the primary provider of seed for the off-bottom oyster aquaculture industry in Alabama. In addition, it provides seed and eyed larvae to growers and researchers in the region. In 2014, for example, the shellfish lab produced over 188 million eyed larvae and over 12 million oyster seed. Read more

Walton joins Sea Grant as oyster aquaculture extension specialist

walton bio pic 1(OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss.) — The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) welcomes Bill Walton of Auburn University to its outreach team. He is serving as an oyster aquaculture extension specialist who will use aquaculture as a tool for restoration, stock assessment and farming to help increase oyster production in Mississippi.

Walton, who has a doctorate degree in fisheries science, is also an associate professor at Auburn University, an extension specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and a faculty member at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

A partnership between the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR), The University of Southern Mississippi, Auburn University, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and MASGC made the position possible. Read More