AUBURN – A $9 million-plus Auburn University facility that will offer leading-edge aquatic research facilities, enhanced classroom environments and improved community education opportunities opened for business Sept. 9 during official ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
The new Center for Aquatic Resource Management, construction of which was funded primarily by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, is located at the E.W. Shell Fisheries Research Center on Alabama 147 five miles north of campus and consists of an administration building with more than 20,000 square feet and a 17,000-plus-square-foot laboratory building that together will enhance the university’s ability to meet its land-grant mission of research, teaching and outreach.
“Alabama and the world face tremendous agricultural challenges in the growing demand for food, fuel and fiber globally, and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and College of Agriculture at Auburn are responsible for helping meet those challenges,” said Bill Batchelor, AAES director and College of Agriculture dean. “This new aquatic resource management center has been designed to have real-world impact by not only strengthening our fisheries and aquaculture research programs but also by expanding our students’ learning experiences.”
The administrative building includes office space for Shell Center staff as well as a teaching lab, a hatchery, a meeting room that will be available to campus and civic groups, a 6,354-square-foot holding area for sorting, weighing and counting fish as needed for research projects and a new market for sales to the public. It also features classrooms – the first ever at the Shell complex – and a visitor-friendly reception area that will be home to educational kiosks and displays ranging from virtual tours of the research station to aquariums filled with live fish to historic information about Auburn’s world-class fisheries and allied aquacultures program.
Research-wise, the adjacent laboratory building houses fish tanks and state-of-the-art labs, including several wet labs that have complete climate control and as such will allow year-round research. Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures Head David Rouse said it also offers a significant amount of flex space in which researchers can set up a wide range of multidisciplinary studies in ecology, physiology, fish health, genetics and water quality.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Center for Aquatic Resource Management at the Shell Fisheries Research Center were held in January 2010; construction began three months later. The center has been certified as a “green” facility under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, international rating system.
Research in inland fisheries and aquaculture began at Auburn in 1933, and the first formal courses were offered in 1946. Today, Auburn’s fisheries and allied aquacultures program is recognized as one of the world’s premier.
For high resolution images and video of the center, go to the feature story at http://ocm.auburn.edu/featured_story/aquatics_center.html.
(Written by Jamie Creamer.)