Montana State University

Trout lab to be rededicated Sept. 7 at MSU

September 5, 2006 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

Rainbow trout (Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- A laboratory that was built 10 years ago to investigate whirling disease will be rededicated Thursday, Sept. 7, with a new name, broader focus and renovations, said Gretchen Rupp, director of the Montana Water Center at Montana State University.

The 3 p.m. ceremony is open to the public and will involve speakers, laboratory tours and refreshments. Speakers will include MSU President Geoff Gamble, MSU Vice President Tom McCoy and representatives of the Montana Water Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Whirling Disease Foundation and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The former Wild Trout Research Laboratory -- now known as the Aquatic Sciences Laboratory -- is located in Faculty Court at the south end of Fifth Avenue on the southeastern edge of the MSU campus.

The name of the lab was changed because the laboratory has expanded its focus beyond whirling disease to include other fisheries topics, aquatic invertebrates and plants, Rupp said.

"The need to accommodate whirling disease research has diminished in recent years, but demand for other aquatic-research capabilities has grown," she said. "Whirling disease still afflicts Montana's fish, but research on it is now ecological in scope and doesn't require so many live fish in a laboratory setting. In the meantime, other issues that do require an aquatic laboratory have emerged."

The lab, in the past year, housed fish from Yellowstone National Park and cultured fish for whirling disease studies to examine birds and anglers as vectors for spreading disease, Rupp said. It also hosted experiments that analyzed the effectiveness of fish-control chemicals under various environmental conditions. It oversaw several aquaculture experiments that were too large for the lab's facilities. One took place at the MSU Animal Resource Center, another in the MSU Plant Growth Center.

Renovations to the laboratory will be completed this fall, Rupp said. They will give the lab four permanent water systems inside the building and a fenced-in area behind the lab for larger-scale and outdoor studies. The inside systems will include an aquarium and raceway recirculating systems.

Funding for the lab comes from the Montana Water Center and individual research grants.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or