The Ireland Center houses the graduate students and research staff for three faculty (Catalano, DeVries, and Wright) whose research is conducted within the broad areas of Aquatic Ecology, Fisheries Ecology, and Fisheries Management. Research spans levels of study, including behavioral, population, and community ecology, and also includes a wide diversity of taxa across a wide range of systems (including small impoundments, streams, rivers, large reservoirs, and the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta in Alabama, the U.S. coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and even Western Alaska).

Description of Facilities

Facilities at Auburn University include a 210 m² laboratory building, a 128 m² office building, and five outdoor drive-through boat storage bays that are all shared by Drs. Matt Catalano, Dennis DeVries, and Rusty Wright. A newly renovated graduate student office space and conference room area complete the available facilities. In addition, a pond facility provides a variety of sizes of controlled hatchery and farm ponds. This 1000-hectare facility includes a lower station, with 194 hatchery ponds totalling 11 ha of water, and an upper station, with 36 farm ponds totalling 80 ha of water. All ponds are drainable, contain distinct littoral and limnetic areas, and are on University property with controlled access, providing a unique facility for continued whole-pond experimental work. Field equipment available at the lab includes five electrofishing boats and a variety of large net boats and smaller jon boats, as well as a wide array of seines, trap nets, and gill nets. In addition YSI temperature-dissolved oxygen-salinity meters and digital field scales are available for field work.

Inside the lab we are well equipped for processing all types of fish and aquatic resource collections, including larval fish samples, quantifying fish diets and zooplankton samples. Four dissecting microscopes, two compound microscopes, and two image analysis systems provide us with state-of-the-art technology for processing larval fish samples, diets, zooplankton samples, and for quantifying annlary and daily rings in fish otoliths. A semi-microbomb calorimeter is available for energetics work. In addition, we have a nephelometer and a photometer for analysis of turbidity and chlorophyll a in water samples. A newly renovated office and conference room complex now houses graduate students, and includes numerous computers for data entry and analysis. In a nearby flow-through tank facility, we are equipped for running multiple aquarium feeding experiments under controlled photoperiod and temperature conditions.