James Tidwell, Ph.D.

Chair for School of Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences; Principal Investigator, Freshwater Shrimp and Largemouth Bass
Academic Affairs
School of Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

Aquaculture Research Facility
103 Athletic Dr.
Frankfort, KY 40601


Phone: (502) 597-8104
Email: james.tidwell@kysu.edu

James Tidwell, Ph.D.Current Research / ProjectsCooperating/Collaborating PartnersSupport PersonnelRecent Publications


As Coordinator for Aquaculture Programs, I am responsible for oversight of all aquaculture programs (research, extension, and education) at KSU. This includes coordination of schedules, allocation of physical resources, and maintenance and operations of the Aquaculture Research Center (ARC).

Strategic planning and determination of overall program directions in consultation and cooperation with other research and extension scientists are other important responsibilities. Also, KSU now offers a Master of Science in Aquaculture/Aquatic Sciences.

As one of the researchers at ARC my overall objective is to facilitate the development of aquaculture as a viable industry within the Commonwealth. My research is directed toward identifying culture species best suited for production and marketing within the region. Specific objectives include:

  • Evaluation and development of locally applicable culture methods for promising species that are readily utilized by average producers.
  • Development of practical diets for these species using locally available, and hopefully locally produced, ingredients (such as distillery by-products).

Species being evaluated include: Channel Catfish, Rainbow Trout, Hybrid Bluegill, Blue Catfish, Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Freshwater Shrimp (Prawn), and Yellow Perch. Primary efforts are being narrowed to freshwater shrimp and largemouth bass.

Current Research / Projects

Integration of Freshwater Prawn Nursery and Growout Systems Into Diversified Farm Systems

The U.S. imports in excess of $2.5 billion in shrimp products each year. This figure is expected to continue to increase. Despite obvious economic incentives, shrimp farming in the U.S. has never developed substantially.

Recent research on the freshwater shrimp Macrobrachium rosenbergii (known as prawns) has found that they grow well at lower temperatures than previously thought. In fact, regional temperatures actually provide a production advantage by delaying sexual maturation and the slowing of growth associated with it. Freshwater shrimp lend themselves to utilization of small ponds and integrate well into diversified operations and schedules of full and part-time farmers.

Objectives of this project are to develop greenhouse nursery capabilities which utilize local by-products and indigenous forage species and integrate with finfish and hydroponic vegetable production. Also, to integrate and diversify pond growout through polyculture with finfish species, develop a seasonal rotation utilizing coldwater species, and evaluate innovative marketing channels and techniques.

Source of Funds: SARE-ACE. The Sustainable Agriculture Program of U.S.D.A.

Tim Woods of the University of Kentucky is cooperating on marketing and economics research.

Development and Refinement of Culture Procedures for Alternative Aquaculture Species in Kentucky

It is expected that newly developing aquaculture species will experience a rapid expansion in production during a the next decade. Development of these new species is likely to largely occur in states such as Kentucky, which do not currently have a well established production, processing, or marketing infrastructure for aquaculture.

This proposed research is intended to refine culture procedures for aquaculture species identified by previous research as promising candidates for commercial production under Kentucky conditions. These include freshwater shrimp, yellow perch, largemouth bass, and hybrid bluegill.

The emphasis of this research is to develop culture procedures for these species that will have applicability to a large number of existing or potential producers. The research includes evaluation of potential marketing channels. Several existing producers have also agreed to evaluate promising results under commercial conditions.

Source of Funds: USDA – Evans-Allen Grant

Cooperating/Collaborating Partners

  • Dr. Lou D’Abramo of Mississippi State University cooperates on prawn production studies including regional comparisons and substrate evaluation.
  • Dr. Martin Brunson of Mississippi State University collaborates on the hybrid bluegill research by assisting in spawning procedures and determination of sex ratios at harvest.
  • Dr. Bill Daniels of Delaware State University assists in the conduct of hatchery procedures for larval prawn studies.
  • Dr. Rick Barrows, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bozeman, MT assists in the formulation and production of experimental diets for yellow perch and walleye.

Support Personnel

  • Shawn Coyle, Co-Investigator, (502) 597-8108
  • Daniel Yancey, Facility Manager, (502) 597-5028
  • Robert Janes, Fish Culture Assistant, (502) 597-5028
  • Karla Johnson, Administrative Assistant II, (502) 597-8106

Recent Publications

  • Tidwell, J. and Coyle, S., 2008. Impact of substrate physical characteristics on grow out of freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, in ponds and microcosm tanks. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 39 (3): 406-413.
  • Amoah, A., Coyle, S., Webster, C., Durborow, R., Bright, L.A., and Tidwell, J. 2008. Effects of graded levels of carbohydrate on growth and survival of largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 39 (3): 397-405.
  • Tidwell, J., Coyle, S., and Bright, L.A. 2007. Effects of different types of dietary lipids on growth and fatty acid composition of largemouth bass. North American Journal of Aquaculture 69:000-000.
  • Tidwell, J.H., Coyle, S., Weibel, C., and Evans, J. 1999. Effects and interactions of stocking density and added substrate on production and population structure of freshwater prawns Macrobrachium rosenbergii. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 30:174-179.
  • Tidwell, J.H., Coyle, S., Evans, J., Weibel, C., McKinney, J., Dodson, K., and Jones, H. 1999. Effect of culture temperature on growth, survival, and biochemical composition of yellow perch Perca flavescens. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 30:324-330.
  • Tidwell, J.H., Webster, C.D., Coyle, S.D., Daniels, W.H., and D’Abramo, L.R.1998. Fatty acid and amino acid composition of freshwater prawns, Macrobrachium rosenbergii De Man, raised in fertilized ponds, unfertilized ponds, or fed prepared diets. Aquaculture Research 29:37-45.
  • Tidwell, J.H., Coyle, S.D., and Schulmeister, W.G. 1998. Effects of added substrate and increased stocking density on the production and population structure of freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) in ponds. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 29:17-22.
  • Tidwell, J.H., Webster, C.D., Coyle, S.D., Schulmeister, W.G. 1998. Effect of stocking density on growth and water quality for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) raised in ponds. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 29(1):79-83

Degrees and Certifications

  • B.S. Biology, University of Alabama in Birmingham
  • M.S. Biology, Samford University
  • Ph.D. Aquaculture, Mississippi State University

Specializes in alternative aquaculture species and feed ingredients.