June 30, 2005

Fisheries center receives major federal grant

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's efforts to enhance the aquaculture industry will get a major boost thanks to a federal grant.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, announced that the Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center will receive a three-year, $282,500 National Research Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Christopher C. Kohler, director of the center, said the funds will support research into animal reproduction. Specifically, researchers will look at the influence of different fatty acids on the reproductive ability of white bass.

The crossing of white bass with striped bass produces a hybrid striped bass, which Kohler said is one of the fastest growing types of fish now found in the nation's aquaculture industry. Researchers will study what types and amounts of fatty acids are best for the white bass.

"If we have a fish that spawns better, if we can improve their hatchability, then we'll have a larval fish that is more robust and has better chance of survival," he explained.

Leading in research, scholarly and creative activities is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.