The Aquaculture Research Center (ARC) is nestled along the shores of the Red River, a tributary of the Mississippi River. Spreading over 380 acres, the Center has natural ponds, meadows, wetlands and wooded areas, as well as indoor and outdoor fish-rearing facilities. On the ARC premises, one can find a high diversity of plants, animals and birds representative of Central Louisiana flora and fauna.
The ARC is operated by Northwestern State University and is located 40 miles south of Natchitoches, LA. Established in 1992, the mission of the ARC is to advance Louisiana aquaculture, to develop a better appreciation of aquaculture science among people of all ages and to contribute to the prosperity of the aquaculture industry.
The development of new species for aquaculture is one of the research projects currently underway at the ARC. This involves collecting wild fish from native rivers, inducing them to spawn in captivity and rearing the young in containers.
Another current research project at the ARC examines the benefits of photoperiod manipulation and the addition of artificial substrates on the quality and quantity of crawfish harvested from ponds. Secondary school, undergraduate and graduate students participate in these studies through summer internships, special projects for course credit and research assistantships.
There are two distinct areas for aquaculture studies at the Aquaculture Research Center. The outdoor research area is comprised of 12 standardized quarter-acre ponds (gravity fed from a 10-acre reservoir), a 1-acre broodstock holding pond, and several low-water containment basins. Indoor research facilities include three distinct indoor recirculation systems (de-chlorinated water from domestic water supply) and a wet lab. The indoor facilities are housed in a building serviced by a climate control system and an emergency generator.
As a field station, the ARC can accommodate 16 overnight guests (2 dorm rooms with 7 single beds per room and 2 private rooms). The ARC has a fully equipped kitchen for self-serve meals and a laundry. The main meeting room at the ARC can seat up to 50 people (theatre style) and has full electronic delivery teaching capabilities. Individual offices with wireless internet access are available for visiting students, researchers and teachers. There is also a teaching laboratory and library in the office/teaching complex.
Tours of the Aquaculture Research Center can be arranged by contacting the Director, Dr. Julie Delabbio, (318) 663-0382, or the Farm Manager, Curtis Brossett, at (318) 379-2969.
Students, if you are interested in getting involved in one of these studies, and literally getting your feet wet, please call!