Father-Son Pioneers of Oyster Cultivation
Julius Nelson founds Rutgers’ Oyster Investigation Laboratory, forerunner of today’s Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory—the most productive and prolific oyster research center in the nation—and together Julius and his son, Thurlow Nelson (RC1913) would pioneer oyster cultivation. “The earliest ecological studies of bivalve larvae in the western hemisphere were conducted by Julius Nelson, biologist at the [Rutgers] New Jersey Experiment Station, and his son, Thurlow Nelson, in estuaries on the east coast of New Jersey.” —Journal of Shellfish Research, June 1988.
In an effort to save the oyster industry, when Multinucleate Sphere X disease decimates the oyster population in New Jersey, Harold Haskin (RC’36), director of the Oyster Laboratory 1950-1984, develops a breeding program that “produces disease-resistant oysters and helps stop the massive deaths of the shellfish in and around the Delaware Bay,” according to Haskin’s 2002 Philadelphia Inquirer obituary.
The Oyster Laboratory is renamed the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, the first building at Rutgers named to honor a living person.