Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type



The goal of this dissertation was to develop application of ultrasonography as a decision-making tool in genetic improvement programs for channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus. A literature review on the use of ultrasonography in fish reproduction generated a comprehensive reference data set intended to benefit existing and potential users. It exposed the need for reporting of instrument control settings and standardization of fish handling and imaging procedures. These issues were addressed from the onset of this work by assessing more than 6,300 channel catfish ovaries by use of initial fish handling and imaging procedures developed (2004-2005) at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center Aquaculture Research Station. The development of a standardized and systematic approach to interpretation of ultrasound images emphasized the interplay of technical and biological aspects of ultrasonography assessments. This showed the importance of the control settings and identified disruptive ultrasound artifacts to avoid for observation of the ovary and oocytes. A preliminary ultrasound imaging classification index for assessing ovarian development during the annual reproductive cycle was developed, used and evaluated. This led to the creation of seven well-defined, standardized ultrasound imaging classifications of channel catfish ovarian development based on the annual cycle. Histology of each ultrasound image in the classification index was included as a Reference Guide to provide insight into the processes observed during ultrasonography. Finally, the ultrasound imaging classification index was used for identification and selection of females for hormone-induced spawning in commercial hatchery production of F1 hybrids (channel catfish female x blue catfish male I. furcatus). In sum, this dissertation provides a systematic method of ultrasound imaging assessment of channel catfish ovarian development enabling progress towards standardization in the use of ultrasonography in fish reproduction.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Tiersch, Terrence R.