Milford Lab History

Original shellfish research station at Milford
The original shellfish research station at Milford, CT
Victor Loosanoff - first Director at Milford
Dr. Victor Loosanoff, the first Director at Milford
Early shellfish field research at Milford
Early shellfish field research at Milford
Original dive team at Milford, ca. 1968
Original dive team at Milford, ca. 1968
Early shellfish research at Milford
Early shellfish researcher at Milford

The Milford Laboratory was established in 1931 when a full-time scientist, Dr. Victor Loosanoff, was assigned to study the biological problems of Connecticut's oyster industry.

Since that time, laboratory scientists have contributed to the understanding of basic shellfish biology and reproduction. Methods were developed for spawning bivalve molluscs nearly year-round and for rearing all life stages (embryonic, larval, and adult).

Mixtures of algae suitable to support different life stages were developed and grown in sufficient quantity to support the production of shellfish. Strains of oysters with desirable characteristics, such as fast growth, were developed by geneticists.

Techniques developed at Milford Laboratory are used worldwide by the aquaculture industry. Laboratory scientists worked closely with the shellfish industry to help solve problems and increase production.

Dr. Loosanoff served as Laboratory Director through the 1960s. In the 1970s, researchers at Milford investigated new species for culture such as bay scallops, surfclams, and hard clams.

With the establishment of NOAA during the 1970s, research was broadened to reflect the fisheries management priorities of NMFS.

Studies emphasized the interactions of biological processes of various marine species with manmade stresses and natural variables.

Research on the effects of heavy metals on physiological, biochemical, genetic, and immunologic functions of key marine organisms was undertaken. Animals were collected from polluted and relatively clean sites during cruises along the Atlantic Coast and during day trips in Long Island Sound.

Controlled laboratory exposures of marine animals to heavy metals and certain organic compounds were used to determine which pollutants were causing specific effects.

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(File Modified Jun. 07 2016)