Animal Care Training

Training to Support PIs and Research



Professional Training Certifications for OSU Researchers Working with Aquatic Animals and their Teams


In addition to the technical support available to Oregon State University researchers working with aquatic animals for research projects, the animal health specialists in the Aquatic Animal Health Program (AAHP) also provide ongoing training opportunities to PIs, their teams and others interested in learning more about aquarium science. These trainings are an invaluable resource for researchers working with aquatic animals at all OSU campuses and can help them avoid many of the problems that often affect research animals and disrupt data integrity, project timelines, and other mission-critical aspects of research projects.

These professional certification trainings are designed to begin with the fundamental aspects of aquatic animal care and create a foundation of understanding that sets stakeholders up for success at the next level. These certification trainings are fee-based, but this modest investment pays for itself through healthier animals, a more knowledgeable approach to husbandry, compliance with IACUC and AAALAC protocols, etc. A quick outline of each certification includes:

Certification I – An introductory course, this training covers what the AAHP does and how it can be a resource, seawater/aeration fundamentals, animal-specific habitat and diet considerations, stress identification/mitigation, daily rounding and documentation.

Certification II – An overview of open/closed/hybrid life support system (LSS) advantages and disadvantages and an introduction to the nitrogen cycle (biological filtration.)

Certification III – A more in-depth discussion about biological filtration, what it means to cycle a closed system, timelines for cycling a new LSS, animal health effects of elevated levels of total ammonia nitrogen, nitrite, nitrate, improper pH, improper salinity and improper system temperature. It also covers why water quality testing and tracking is essential for system and animal health.

Certification IV – In-depth discussion about mechanical, chemical and biological filtration, which types of filtration are most suitable for your research project, and why biosecurity (sterilization and disinfection) is critically important for animal health, data integrity and regulatory compliance.

Certification V – This is a capstone certification regarding how animal and system health begins at the design stage. How to read a piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID,) how to calculate system volume, research animal-specific LSS design and build considerations, and a solvent welding lab so that researchers and their teams know how to weld pipe and fittings properly so that their research life support systems are stable, healthy and conducive to animal health and project timelines and less likely to fail.

These certification trainings give OSU researchers and their teams a decided competitive edge and can make IACUC, AAALAC, and other accreditation inspections easier and more successful. The technical expertise gained through these certifications can be hugely important for avoiding many of the common pitfalls that often result in mortalities, compromised project data, project timeline disruptions and other interruptions.

If you’re interested in registering yourself and/or your project team in one of our certification trainings, contact AAHP Lab Manager Sid Stetson.