The Mussel Barn
Our laboratory is located at the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and because it is nestled between pastures of horses and cows, we affectionately call it the "Mussel Barn."
This facility was constructed in 1990 for the purposes on conducting research with marine bivalves. In 2000, funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the facility was modified to conduct propagation of freshwater mussels for conservation and experimental purposes. Initially, some fish host determination and early culture was done on a small scale, but in 2004, the NC Department of Transportation funded an effort to expand mussel propagation efforts in the state of North Carolina. We invested more into the facility and had dedicated staff conducting the work full time.
The Mussel Barn uses municipal water from Raleigh, NC and conditions it for use with carbon filtration and dechlorination with sodium thiosulfate. Multiple recirculating systems are used to quarantine fish, hold infected host fish of a variety of species and sizes, and conduct fish host determination trials. A substantial plumbing infrastructure allows quick and easy distribution of air and conditionedwater throughout the facility. Juvenile mussels are cultured here in their earliest stages. A greenhouse adjacent to the faciilty is used for culturing algae fed to adult and juvenile mussels on hand.
Click HERE to check out our custom-designed recirculating system for conducting propagation experiments.