Current Projects

Scaphirhynchus Sturgeon Culture
The present research is dedicated to relieving the pressure on pallid and shovelnose sturgeon wild stocks and developing a caviar industry to supplement regional aquaculture production. Critical to the success of such an enterprise is the development of shovelnose sturgeon feeds and the production of captive offspring for domestication and the creation of future generations. Success will be beneficial to all propagation efforts, whether for commercial caviar or stock enhancement.

Shovelnose Sturgeon Growth Endocrinology
Because of the increased interest in shovelnose sturgeon culture and very limited knowledge of the physiological mechanisms regulating sturgeon growth, shovelnose sturgeon were chosen as a model species to evaluate the regulatory mechanisms of the somatotropic axis in sturgeon. This research aids in understanding the regulatory and evolutionary principles of the somatotropic axis in shovelnose sturgeon and provide the first look into the endocrine regulation of growth in Scaphirhynchus sturgeon.

Fillet Quality of Asian Carp
The rapid pH decline and associated changes in muscle proteins can result in flesh with unfavorable color and flavor, soft-texture, reduced water holding capacity, reduced shelf-life, and poor consumer acceptability. Development of techniques to minimize the negative impacts of harvest and transport will improve flesh quality and benefit processors and consumers. There is a critical need to add value and increase acceptance of Asian carp to support the Illinois fishery. Research is necessary to find where quality defects might occur and uncover conditions that contribute to lower flesh quality such that best management practices can be developed and implemented to avoid these problems, thus improving consumer acceptance and industry profitability.

Establishing a Saline Aquaculture Industry in Illinois
This project is essentially a preliminary study on the viability of establishing a saline aquaculture industry in Illinois. The report will answer the question on whether it is feasible to develop an economically viable saline aquaculture industry within Illinois and the Midwest. Locations that are most desirable in terms of a number of criteria such as quantity and quality of water, access to land and energy, and means of disposal of saline effluent as needed in an environmentally responsible manner will be evaluated.

Xenogeneic Catfish
In the case of the U.S. farm-raised catfish industry, implementation of germinal cell transplantation technology could substantially improve the production of blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) x channel catfish (I. punctatus) hybrids, a desirable cross due to improved production traits. We are developing techniques for xenotransplantation of blue catfish germ cells and spermatogonia into sterile, male channel catfish in order to facilitate rapid improvements in hybrid catfish production for U.S. farmers.