Improving lab capabilities at CERC

Science Center Objects

March 6, 2018

When it comes to science within the Comprehensive Sturgeon Research Project, it often seems that each study provides information that opens more avenues of scientific inquiry. While this is simply the nature of scientific research, the expanding range of studies often leaves scientists short on time and resources to pursue all of the unknowns. While we can’t add extra hours in a day, we can do something about the resources offered to scientists so their time and efforts are as productive as possible.

The 2017-2018 renovations currently underway at the Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC) aim to do just that.

Expected to be fully functional in late spring or early summer 2018, the CERC is repurposing 3,400 square feet of existing infrastructure into a biosecure wetlab to support endangered species and invasive species studies. By providing state of the art water treatment and environmental control within a large new dedicated space, scientists will greatly increase the capacity for culture of adults and early life stages.  The facility will also provide for the ability to conduct multiple, concurrent studies—a huge asset when dealing with fish like the pallid sturgeon where early life stages are available only for a short time each year.

In an effort to create an efficient, comprehensive space, the building will be generally divide into four sections: behavioral research space, culture and rearing space, a flexible, adaptive research space, and facilities to treat incoming and effluent water. This means everything involved in a study from the water to the fish to the environment can be controlled from start to finish within the single building isolated from the outside environment. Studies with Asian carps are expected commence in the new building in summer of 2018, while sturgeon studies will begin in later 2018–early 2019.

Planned layout for upcoming construction

Planned layout for upcoming construction in the Columbia Environmental Research Center's new wetlab. 

(Public domain.)