Marine stocking research in South Carolina is a collaborative effort conducted in multiple facilities utilizing intensive recirculating aquaculture systems, extensive outdoor nursery ponds, and advanced biotechnology equipment.
Located at Ft. Johnson on Charleston Harbor, facilities at MRRI include wet labs containing eight self contained 4,000 gallon recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) designed for broodstock conditioning and spawning, nine 2,500 gallon outdoor flow-through tanks, six individual 400 gallon experimental tanks, an egg and larvae incubation system, a culture room for live feed production, and three environmentally controlled experimental chambers for environmental tolerance research.
At two days post hatch, fish larvae are transported to outdoor nursery ponds at the WMC located along the Colleton River in Bluffton, SC. This facility includes twelve 0.25-acre ponds, nine 0.5-acre ponds, and three 1.25-acre ponds as well as a hatchery building and a wet lab with three replicate experimental recirculating aquaculture systems containing six 400 gallon tanks each. Additional outdoor facilities include ten 10’ diameter and three 20’ diameter flow-through tanks.
The Hollings Marine Laboratory is also located at Ft. Johnson in Charleston, SC and is the home of our genetics laboratory. PCR amplification and capillary electrophoresis of DNA extracted from small samples of fin tissue are used for both the identification of hatchery released fish and quantification of stocking impacts, as well as the evaluation of genetic population structure. Additional facilities at HML include a wet lab that contains two 4,000 gallon broodstock conditioning and spawning tanks, as well three replicate recirculating aquaculture systems with twenty-four 400 gallon experimental tanks.