For contributing to improved catfish hatchery efficiency, fish biologist Eugene L. “Les” Torrans has received a 2008 Technology Transfer Award for Superior Efforts from the Agricultural Research Service, the principal intramural scientific research agency of USDA.

The annual awards recognize ARS researchers who successfully develop and deliver new technology for public use.

Torrans, who works at the ARS Catfish Genetics Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss., was among eight teams and individuals recognized at the ARS annual recognition program.

Torrans conducted research to determine the oxygen requirements of channel catfish eggs and fry. He showed that fry survival is improved when catfish eggs receive highly oxygenated water during the last day of incubation. Insufficient oxygen could reduce hatch and survival rates by as much as 20 percent.

Torrans collaborated with Jim Steeby, an Extension aquaculture specialist at Mississippi State University, who determined that more than 65 percent of Mississippi and Arkansas hatcheries had lower-than-optimal oxygen rates during the critical high-oxygen demand period. Torrans and Steeby worked together to identify potential solutions, such as using liquid oxygen.