- November 2018
MSU Forest and Wildlife
Department of Wildlife,
Fisheries, and Aquaculture
Years in Position: 15
Years at MSU: 15
Derrel Taylor works as a research technician for the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center, popularly known as South Farm. His main job is to help with the research ponds and feeding.
“I generally help with anything and everything that needs to be done. That sometimes includes keeping predators out of the ponds,” he said. “However, my main chores are to monitor the oxygen level in the ponds and feed the fish.”
Derrel said that many people do not know that ponds require a certain amount of oxygen in order to be kept in a good condition for the fish. He said that he loves the cold season because the oxygen stays more stable in the ponds rather than fluctuating in the heat of the summer. However, there is so much more to his important role than just keeping up with the ponds.
Derrel helps to make sure the facility is in good and proper condition. He monitors erosion and is on the look-out for nuisance animals, such as muskrats which tunnel into the pond levees. These seemingly small and tedious jobs make a huge difference when raising catfish or other fish species.
“I chose this career because my family was in the catfish farming business. “I learned a good bit about fish farming as I grew up,” he said.” My favorite part of this job is that I get to be outside every day. It’s such a fun job, and I love the people I get to work with and meet.”
He said everyone on his team is dependable and careful. Most of the research related-work has to be done in specific ways and documented.
“We have to pay particular attention to aerator hours of operation and that they are functioning properly. We monitor the oxygen levels at least twice a day. You have to be observant and thoughtful. The oxygen can change in the ponds within 20 minutes, especially in the summer when it’s hot,” Derrel said.
Derrel won the Doris Lee Memorial Staff Award in 2014.
In his spare time, Derrel enjoys hunting as well as raising cows and farming. He has one daughter, Rachel, and one grandson, Taylor, who live in north Mississippi, and he likes to visit when he gets the chance.