Christening the Automated Larval Fish Rearing System (ALFiRiS) at the DMS Rankin Lab

Rankin Lab, December 2020. After using and tinkering with our experimental system at the Rankin Seawater Lab of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Marine Sciences for over 5 years, it’s finally time to give the baby a name – ALFiRiS.

Over the past years, the Evolutionary Fish Ecology Lab of Prof. Baumann has built an Automated Larval Fish Rearing System (ALFiRiS) to conduct factorial experiments on the climate sensitivity of fishes. It consists of a 3 x 3 array of recirculating units (600L/150gal) that have independent computer-control over their temperature, oxygen, and pH conditions. We use a self-developed LabView (National Instruments) platform to sequentially monitor tank conditions via industrial-grade oxygen and pH sensors (Hach) and then control gas solenoids (air, N2, CO2) to maintain and modulate environmental conditions. The system can apply static as well as fluctuating conditions on diel and tidal scales. Computerized temperature control further allows simulating heatwaves and other non-static thermal regimes. We’ve only begun to explore all of ALFiRiS’ capabilities.

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