Alabama Fish Farming Center, AL

Description of Elective Experience: 

The Alabama Fish Farming Center is in the heart of Alabama's aquaculture industry.  The center does disease diagnosis for catfish, sportfish, tilapia, crayfish and marine shrimp.  The lab is equipped to conduct diagnosis of aquaculture species for parasites, bacteria, and viruses.  The lab has the molecular equipment to conduct qPCR for determining the specific pathogen.  The lab also routinely does microbial checks for a local processing plant. The lab is also equipped with a mobile fish diagnostic laboratory that is driven to many farms in the area reporting problems with diseases.  This laboratory is equipped to conduct diagnosis of aquatic animals for parasites, bacteria, and collect material for viruses. Our main clientele are channel catfish and hybrid catfish producers so the majority of the experience will center on these.  We also work closely with the local vets to assist farmers with obtaining Veterinary Feed Directives for antibiotic feed. We will introduce the candidate to the local vets as well as provide a tour of the local feed mill that is FDA certified to make antibiotic feed.  We will also arrange for a tour of the processing plant.

Institutional and Educational Resources - staffing, equipment, etc.: 

The Alabama Fish Farming Center personnel include two PhDs, 1 MS Research Associate, 1 BS Research Associate, 1 Extension Specialist, and an adminstrative assistant.  Once the coronavirus dictate to work remotely is lifted, we will have a Postdoc that will join our team.  Our equipment includes compound microscopes, dissecting scopes, inverted scopes, histology equipment, water quality test kits, microplate reader, qPCR, DNA/RNA automated extraction machine, several hoods, pipettes, and glassware.  One compound microscope is equiped with a camera. We have the ability to determine the bacteria via API strips or using biochemical or qPCR techniques. The lab is also equipped with several tank systems for holding fish or conducting research.

Student Responsibilities - what is expected of students in terms of hours, days of the week, shadowing or actual support?: 

The student will be given hands-on training.  We expect a 40 hour work week Monday-Friday.  The student will have the opportunity to diagnose diseases and analyze water quality with the Certified Aquatic Animal Health Inspector present.  The student will also be expected to accompany the Certified Aquatic Animal Health Inspector on farm calls in the remote mobile diagnostic laboratory.

Student Housing (include costs, amenities, pet friendly, contact info if different from elective contact info): 

Housing in the area is approximately $400 month plus utilities.  Pet friendly and within 10 miles of the workplace.

Anita M. Kelly, PhD
Contact email: 
Alabama Fish Farming Center
529 S. Centreville Street
Demopolis, AL 36744
United States
Animal Type: 
Practice or Institution Type: 
Is student housing available?: 
Hours of supervision by a licensed veterinarian per week: