Adults and children will have a chance to learn about shellfish and their role in the ecology of Long Island Sound at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Milford Laboratory during their annual open house on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.   

Visitors will be able to tour the lab at their own pace, asking questions of local marine scientists. Researchers will have a number of exhibits set up throughout the laboratory and grounds to help visitors learn about phytoplankton, shellfish health and breeding, interactions between shellfish aquaculture and the environment, field work in fisheries science, and the impact of changing ocean chemistry, or ocean acidification, on shellfish.

“We always hear comments from visitors like, ‘I’ve lived here my whole life and never knew what you did’,” said Mark Dixon, event coordinator. “We look forward to this opportunity each October to share what we do with the public.”

Hands on activities are available for all age groups. Among the most popular are a touch tank containing animals from Long Island Sound and fish printing. A habitat exhibit lets visitors explore how plants and animals in the sound interact with their environment.

The Milford Laboratory, a world leader in aquaculture science, was established in 1931 at the request of Connecticut’s oyster industry to help expand sustainable oyster harvests. Over the lab's history, NOAA scientists, working closely with industry and academia, have made fundamental contributions to the understanding of shellfish biology and reproduction.

Today, the Milford Lab conducts state-of-the-art science that informs management for the sustainable expansion of aquaculture, provides services to the shellfish aquaculture industry, and advances new technologies through collaborative research.

For further information or to request reasonable accommodation, contact Mark Dixon by email (mark.dixon@noaa.gov) or telephone, 203-882-6564. More information and directions to Milford Laboratory, 212 Rogers Avenue, Milford, are available on the web at https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/nefsc/Milford/.