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Gadsden, Ala. –Gadsden State Community College welcomes a new researcher to the Aquaculture Department.  Dr. Andrew Gannon, associate professor of biology at Birmingham-Southern College, was granted a six month sabbatical to conduct research at Gadsden State which began in late August.  His research is on the general physiology of fresh water shrimp.  The main focus is on the calcium budget of the shrimp—how and where calcium is gained or lost.

Dr. Andrew Gannon holding a shrimp

Dr. Andrew Gannon holding a shrimp

Sabbaticals give professors the opportunity to pursue and refine research interests that often lie dormant because of heavy teaching loads.  Gannon said he chose to spend his research sabbatical at Gadsden State because of the large amount of fresh water shrimp at the facility.

Gannon said that the calcium budget is important to study because it determines how hard or soft the shrimp’s shell is.  “Once we know their calcium needs we can manipulate the calcium of the shrimp ponds and determine if money is being wasted by adding too much calcium to the fresh water shrimp ponds.”  Gannon continued by saying that controlling calcium levels may lead to the creation of soft-shell shrimp.

Dr. Hugh Hammer, aquaculture instructor, said he believes that Gannon’s research will benefit the department, as well.  “All of our students will get to see how research is conducted and some will be able to assist him with his work,” Hammer said.  The Aquaculture Department at Gadsden State is one of four aquaculture facilities in the Southeast, and is the only fishery at a two-year college in the state.  “It shows how advanced our department is, because a professor from a four-year university is doing his research at a two-year college facility,” said Hammer.

The relationship between the colleges is one both professors would like to build on.  “I hope this will be the start of many more projects between Birmingham-Southern and Gadsden State.”  The Aquaculture Department staff and students have been extremely helpful with the project,“ Gannon said.   Gannon is the vacating department head for the Department of Biology at Birmingham-Southern College.  He has been published in the Journal of Crustacean Biology and belongs to The Crustacean Society, as well as, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

For more information about Dr. Gannon’s research or the Aquaculture Department, please contact Dr. Hugh Hammer at

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