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Aquaculture Research Institute

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Prof Ian Bricknell talks about bait risks on MPBN radio

Hear our director, Prof Ian Bricknell, talk about bait risks on MPBN radio

Calling all seaweed enthusiasts!

A note to all fellow seaweed enthusiasts: our colleagues at Maine Sea Grant have created a new page called Maine Seaweed Social. It is a place to connect and share ideas, photos and experiences. The link is below; please spread the word so that we can move this industry forward!

ARI Graduate Student Explores Link Between Carbon Dioxide and Blindness in Cod

ARI Graduate Student Kevin Neves has recently completed his research project looking into the question of ….What caused hundreds of Atlantic cod in a UMaine research project at CCAR in 2004 to develop severe cataracts at higher rates than expected?  He found that cod living at high densities were exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide, causing them to grow cataracts and eventually go blind. Fish that cannot see to locate their food cannot grow.  Kevin expects to defend in Fall 2012.  More information on the project can be found at the following link.

Colleagues in Dept of Chemistry Receive Award to Develop Nitrate Monitor

Jim Killarney and John Ahern have been working with the Aquaculture Research Institute on development of a gadget to monitor nitrates in recirculation systems and bioremediation sites.  They have recently been awarded an MTI seed grant on their project Chemiluminescence Detection of Nitrates and THMs. The ability to detect nitrates and disinfectant byproducts in place and in real-time greatly improves process controls and pollution monitoring for aquaculture and drinking water treatment.  The University of Maine is developing a sensor that takes advantage of a novel spectrometer design that measures the chemiluminescence of these compounds.  The scope of this project is to obtain the technical and customer requirements of a chemiluminescence based sensor which will allow us to design our beta prototype device.  The lightweight, durable monitoring device will be deployable and provide pollutant concentration data in real-time to end users.

MTI Award for Vaccine Development

Drs Tim Bowden and Ian Bricknell of the Aquaculture Research Institute, UMaine have been awarded a new MTI seed grant for novel vaccine development.

Vaccines are a key method of controlling disease in finfish aquaculture. However, most fish vaccines consist of crude bacterial suspensions where the mechanisms of protection are not well understood. Recent research by the applicants has identified a novel group of proteins that are expressed by bacteria during the end stages of an infection. Vaccines that include these proteins were very protective against the fish pathogen Aeromonas salmonicida in small-scale laboratory trials.

ARI Open House 2012

Open House 2012

August 24, 2011, 8:30am-4pm

Wells Conference Center

University of Maine, Orono


08:30 Registration and refreshments
09:00  Welcome Ian Bricknell, Director of Aquaculture Research Institute
09:10 Invited Speaker:Sustainable Aquaculture in Maine Sebastian Belle, Director of Maine Aquaculture Association
10:00 Urchin Culture Steve Eddy, CCAR, UMaine
10:20 A Pilot Project to Stimulate Seaweed Production on Mussel Farms in Maine Sarah Redmond & Dana Morse, Maine Sea Grant
10:40 The effect of ocean acidification on lobster larvae Joshua Hall, Animal & Veterinary Sciences, UMaine
11:00 Coffee break
11:30 The effects of high pressure processing on the texture and color of abalone meat Brianna Hughes, Food Science, UMaine
11:50 Carbon dioxide induced cataracts in Cod Kevin Neves, Marine Sciences, UMaine
12:10 Razor Clam Hatchery Mick Devin, Darling Marine Center, UMaine
12:30 Lunch & Poster Session
13:30 Concurrent Sessions:
ARI Graduate Showcase
Room 1  
13:30 Thyroid function in Atlantic salmon Alyssa Freitag
13:45 MSX in oysters Nicole Messerman
14:00 Habitat Moorings Chris Roy
14:15 Abalone Immunology Erin Switzer
14:30 Atlantic salmon reproductive endocrinology Leanne Thayer
Meet ARI faculty
Room 2  Tim Bowden, Ian, Bricknell, Heather Hamlin, Paul Rawson
15:00 Refreshments
15:30 Aquaculture & the Lobster Fishery  Ian Bricknell
16:00 Close

UMaine Aquaculture Facility Tours, August 23rd 2012

August 23, 2012, 1pm

Come and find out more about our aquaculture research facilities at:

The Darling Marine Center, Walpole and The Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, Franklin.

The Darling Marine Center, Walpole  

In the early 1970′s Dr. Herb Hidu was hired by the University of Maine to establish a shellfish aquaculture facility at that Darling Marine Center. For 30 years he taught and trained students in the art and science of growing the Eastern oyster in the cold waters of our coast. Many of his early students were the first entrepreneurs of Maine’s thriving oyster industry. The Darling Center shellfish research has expanded beyond Maine’s oysters to a wider variety of species including mussels, scallops, whelks, European oysters, razor clams and quahogs. Both Basic and applied research is supported at the center with the goal of improving knowledge of shellfish and sustainable methods for the fishing and culture of shellfish. There are a number of state-of-the-art facilities at the Darling Marine Center to support the University of Maine’s aquaculture research.  Including:

Hatchery based research at DMC is often conducted in collaboration with industry partners, the shellfish working group, and the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center.  These collaborations provide the University of Maine researchers access to some of the most pristine and productive culture sites in the Northeastern United States.

The Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, Franklin

The facility (CCAR) is located on Taunton Bay in Franklin, Maine.  After taking over the property in 1999 we set about modernizing and expanding the facilities, upgrading the systems to include innovative recirculating technologies, waste water treatment systems and to comply with all relevant building and safety codes. In 2003 we built the “MTI Cluster Enhancement” funded buildings to add multipurpose space for business incubation and R&D. In 2005 we added the EDA funded marine fish hatchery, to enable us to produce a variety of marine fish for the industry. In addition to having the facilities, experience and knowledge, we are able to assist industry partners in applying for outside funding for their R&D projects and will help design and manage R&D projects from basic research, all the way through to the design of full scale commercial farming. The flexibility of the facilities allows for a wide range of work on a wide range of species.  These include: cold water marine fish, including Atlantic halibut and Atlantic cod; tropical marine fish, such as Clown fish; a variety of invertebrates including polychaete worms and sea urchins; and marine algae.

Please register if you wish to attend a tour.

Teacher Workshop on Aquaponics, August 23rd 2012

August 23, 2012, 1pm

Aquaculture Research Center, UMaine, Orono

Aquaponics is the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment.  Water is cycled between fish tanks and plant growing areas, and the fish waste acts as a fertilizer for the plant crops. These systems are efficient and water-wise, using 90% less water than conventional vegetable gardens or aquaculture systems.

Aquaponics is an amazing tool for teachers and educators. Aquaponics systems bring science and ecology to life by showing a living, breathing example of what can happen when people work with nature to help grow their food.  Lessons can range from biology, physics, and chemistry, to horticulture, zoology, and nutrition.

Come along to this workshop and learn how to put together a classroom sized aquaponics system.  With opportunities for hands on experience, and ideas for lesson plans, this no-fee course offers the opportunity to find out more about a dynamic, interactive teaching tool!

Please register for this event. Limited spaces available.

Registration now open for Techniques in Shellfish Aquaculture course

Registration is now open for a May term/summer course at the Darling Marine Center on Techniques in Shellfish Aquaculture. Registration opened on February 24th. To find out more about this course please go to this web page.

This course is open to both UMaine and non-UMaine students. UMaine students can register directly through MaineStreet. Non-UMaine students, please register through the Office of Continuing and Distance Education/ Summer University by calling 207-581-3143.

ARI at Aquaculture America 2012

Well that was a busy few days at Aquaculture America in Las Vegas! Our first impressions of the meeting were that it was a little smaller than last years’ in New Orleans. However, it was certainly as glitzy – being held in the Hotel Paris and Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard. We all ended up with rooms on the 27th floor of the hotel with almost amazing views of the strip (which must use as much electricity in a month as the whole of Maine does in a year!).

So how was the meeting? For us it was fantastic – we had many great meetings with the aquaculture industry and support companies. Certainly the two big themes we saw emerging from the meeting were fish health (in particular sea lice control) and seaweeds (especially seaweed culture for aquaculture feeds and nutriceuticals).


We had some amazing conversations with the US poultry feed industry concerning our IMTA research and possible outlets for both seaweed products and bivalve meal in non-aquaculture related feeds stuffs.

One of the most amazing stands on display was the Alltech stand displaying a concept farm of the future, where finfish and algae culture is combined with traditional terrestrial agriculture to create a carbon neutral farm. Well worth going to and checking out the computer model there for more details.

The conference component of the meeting had some very important sessions; not least was the aquaculture education lectures where we learnt about the new Aquaculturehub social media site ( and the amazing education project A.T.OL.L. where all levels of aquaculturists can access free training videos  ( Look out for some videos from us on fish ectoparasites, egg quality and vaccines later this year.

The session on the Coexist project US is another exciting opportunity for collaboration between stakeholders in the Marine Coastal Zone to open a dialog about the use of coastal waters. It is in its early days in the USA – not so much a project as  a “groundswell” right now – but we would recommend that everyone contribute to this project as it looks as if it will be very important in helping develop sustainable policies for all of us. (

ISAv is still an issue in aquaculture and we were treated to some excellent talks on this serious disease by Dr. Brian Glebe from DFO Canada and some of the exciting work he has been doing on vaccines. Brian is planning to retire from DFO later this year but he did tell me that he’ll still be active in the field, which is great to hear because his group has produced seminal work over the years.

The final session we attended was the recirculating aquaculture session where Atlantic Pacific Farms of Maine presented their abalone system and our very own Robert Bishop (UMaine 2014) gave a great presentation.

Socially the formal end of each day was marked with the traditional beer in the exhibit hall where we met up with old and some new friends. Now all we have to do is wait for our flight home and give my liver time to recover until we do this all again next year!

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Contact Information

Aquaculture Research Institute
5735 Hitchner Hall Room 179
Orono, Maine 04469
Phone: 207.581.4397E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System