Photograph of hallway leading to APL labs on main campus

What is the APL

For the past 31 years the Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory (APL) has been dedicated to providing quality diagnostic and research services for the growing worldwide shrimp industry. The APL is a USDA approved, ISO 17025:2017 and 17043:2010 accredited (testing and proficiency testing), and OIE reference laboratory.

Photograph of Sabino Canyon


The APL is in the Sonoran Desert, surrounded by mountains and 200 miles away from any natural bodies of water. The Environmental Protection Agency lists southern Arizona as the region with the highest average UV index in the United States and UV radiation has been proven to inactivate both bacteria and viruses (source: EPA). The APL's unique geographical location makes it virtually impossible for even the inadvertent spread of any infectious lethal disease from the laboratory to natural water bodies and in the aquatic ecosystem. In other words, the APL's natural isolation makes it one of the most ideal places on earth to conduct research and training involving infectious diseases of shrimp and other aquatic animals. Hence, the APL is a “Plum Island of infectious disease research in shrimp and fish".


As a globally recognized and a leading laboratory of infectious disease research of shrimp and other aquatic species, the APL has three primary callings:

To provide disease diagnostic and research services to the shrimp industry worldwide

To train professionals from industry, academia, government, and NGOs on shrimp disease diagnostics worldwide

To conduct basic research to discover etiologic agents that cause infectious diseases in shrimp, invent diagnostic tools to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and disease pandemics worldwide, and create therapies that control diseases to mitigate risk and enhance sustainability in shrimp aquaculture