The University of Maine next year will begin building an aquaculture research facility that will be the only laboratory of its kind in the US.
The high-level containment facility for cold-water aquaculture research in Orono known as FISHLab triples the university's aquaculture research space.
It will be used by UMaine's professors and private companies to perform research related to diseases that could affect Maine's aquaculture industry and fisheries.
Ian Bricknell, the university's professor of aquaculture biology and director of its Aquaculture Research Institute, said the facility's high level of isolation will allow researchers to study pathogens "with no risk of them escaping into the wild."
Work at the facility could help develop vaccines for dozens of species, including fish, lobsters and sea urchins.
Construction, funded by a $600,000 grant, is scheduled to begin around April 2011 and take about one year to complete.