Facilities & Equipment

Gloucester Point Hatchery

Gloucester Pt. HatcheryThe hatchery at VIMS’ main campus in Gloucester Point has accommodated a wide variety of research groups over the years, but it has served as the central home for much of ABC’s breeding work since the 1998 spawning season. ABC researchers have continually refurbished this space and its operating procedures to better optimize its role in oyster genetics and breeding, reflect current industry practices, and maintain consistent production each year.

Today, the Gloucester Point hatchery houses ABC’s diploid breeding work and research, their outdoor nursery system, and a variety of experimental cultures and sampling activities. It is one of the most visited facilities on the VIMS campus.

Learn more about the Gloucester Point Hatchery and discover how you can visit.


Kauffman Aquaculture Center

Kauffman Aquaculture CenterThe Kauffman Aquaculture Center (KAC) lies 30 miles north of VIMS' main campus on Locklies Creek, a tributary of the Rappahannock River. The building was dedicated in 2004 and began full operations in 2005.

The construction of KAC significantly expanded the scope of aquaculture research at VIMS by providing a facility that was specifically designed to hold both native and non-native species in quarantine. The specialized systems at this site presented new research opportunities while protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its living resources from unintentional introduction of disease and non-native species. In 2009, non-native oyster research ended with a federal decision to disallow their introduction and to refocus research efforts on the bay’s native oyster species.

Since then, KAC has been redesigned several times to continually expand its function as an oyster hatchery and broodstock staging center. Today, it is home to ABC’s polyploid breeding work and research, as well as the primary broodstock holding facility for both hatcheries during their annual spawning season.

Learn more about the Kauffman Aquaculture Center and polyploid oysters.


Field Operations

Field Operations.ABC’s field capabilities consist of oyster grow-out at 4 main farm sites using a variety of methods: rack-and-bag, bottom cages, and longline basket systems. A central field lab on the VIMS main campus is where the majority of our sampling, deployment, and distribution activities take place.

The farm sites, located on the York, Rappahannock, Coan, and Choptank rivers, are each staged in intertidal to subtidal zones. The field sites on the Coan and Rappahannock are on private oyster ground; industry partners have granted ABC access for holding broodstock and conducting experiments.

Learn more about ABC’s field operations and farm sites.

Learn about ABC’s broodstock offerings.


Andrews Hall.Flow Cytometry

ABC scientists use flow cytometry to detect the ploidy, or chromosomal complement, of an oyster. This is important for verification of polyploid oysters produced for research or for commercial use. ABC provides ploidy testing for both needs. Contact [[v|ritter,Kate Ritter Sage]] for more information on ABC's flow cytometry services

Disease Assessment

ABC's histological capabilities are used to assess disease pressure on our selectively bred lines and families. We use standard methods of assessing Dermo disease using Rays's Fluid Thioglycollate Medium and standard paraffin histology. These capabilities are for internal ABC use only. For other pathology services available for shellfish health, see VIMS' Shellfish Pathology Program.