Facilities & Equipment

Gloucester Point Hatchery

The heart of ABC's breeding effort lies in its hatchery capability at VIMS' main campus in Gloucester Point. Beginning with the 1997 inception of ABC, the Gloucester Point hatchery has served as ABC's principal oyster-breeding facility. Since the 1998 spawning season, ABC researchers have continually refurbished and redefined the operating procedures of the hatchery to better reflect its role in shellfish genetics and oyster breeding.

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Kauffman Aquaculture Center

The Kauffman Aquaculture Center lies 30 miles north of VIMS' main campus on a tributary of the Rappahanock River known as Locklies Creek. The building was dedicated in April, 2004 and began full operations in 2005.

The Center significantly expands 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. Lately, it has been used for staging and preparing brood stock for spawning, and as a small-scale supplemental hatchery. The facility features three separate laboratories that were each purpose-built to protect Chesapeake Bay and its living resources from disease, parasites, and the unintentional introduction of non-natives.

Construction of the $1.4 million Center was funded through a challenge grant by Boots and Jack Kauffman, with matching grants provided by Mr. Matthew T. Blackwood; the D. Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, Inc.; Mr. and Mrs. Weston F. Conley, Jr. and Family; Dominion; Mr. and Mrs. John P.D. Kauffman; The Elis Olsson Memorial Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. E. Claiborne Robins, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. James E. Rogers; and the Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation.

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Our field capabilities consist of oyster grow-out in three farms using traditional rack-and-bag culture. The farms, on the York, Lynnhaven, and Yeocomico rivers, each range from sub-tidal to inter-tidal. Two of these farms are on private oyster ground; industry partners have granted ABC access for holding broodstock and conducting experiments. The York River farm is located near the VIMS campus and is used for disease-challenge tests under conditions of moderate salinity, and high disease prevalence. The Lynnhaven River farm is the high-salinity test site and used for broodstock holding and experiments. The Yeocomico River farm is our low-salinity test site and is primarily involved in experiments.

Find more information about our breeding program and experiments.

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 [[khudson,Karen Hudson]] 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.