Current Projects

Feasibility of Atlantic Surfclam Culture in New Jersey
Currently, shellfish aquaculture in New Jersey and other Atlantic states focuses almost solely on two species; the American Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and the Hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria). Culturing Atlantic surfclams (Spisula solidissima) is an opportunity for species diversification.

Seed Oyster Production
Production of disease –resistant, fast-growing oyster seed for commercial growout, research, and restoration. 2013 production: approximately 10 million seed oysters. Get background information about oysters and ordering oyster seed from the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory.

Development of a theoretical basis for modeling disease processes in marine invertebrates
Marine diseases lack a general theory for host-pathogen systems, unlike terrestrial systems

Development of Beneficial Compounds via Algal Photo-Bioreactors
Microalgae produce a number of valuable biochemical compounds, such as polysaturated fatty acids that have use in the food industry. There are potential opportunities for culture of species and strains of microalgae with increased yields of these biochemicals for use as nutraceuticals and to enhance food quality for human, as well as for shellfish cultured for human consumption. The scale of algal culture enabled by the addition of algal photo-bioreactors allows the research community to enter into joint ventures with the food and pharmaceutical industries to mass culture these species/strains.

Experimental culture of other species

Ribbed mussel (Geukensia demissa) for Coastal Ecosystem Restoration
Bivalve molluscs improve water quality and provide critical food-web linkages supporting healthy ecosystems. They can also play an important role in stabilizing marsh edges and shore banks, providing protection from storm surge and reducing erosion. Oysters and clams are commonly used to enhance estuarine habitats; however, many target restoration sites are in waters where shellfish harvest and planting is prohibited due to human health risks associated with consumption of contaminated shellfish. For this reason, there is a growing interest in the production of non-food bivalve molluscs for restoring habitat in areas where shellfish harvest is not allowed. Researchers at the NJAIC are developing culture methods for producing ribbed mussels, which are not commonly used for food, but can be used to improve water quality and restore critical habitats.

Culturing of Mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus) for the Baitfish Industry
The mummichog is an abundant species in salt marshes and tidal creeks along the east coast of the United States and is used primarily as bait in the recreational summer flounder fishery. Shortages of this critical baitfish occur regularly during the fishing season. The AIC will engage New Jersey bait/tackle shops as well as harvesters of wild mummichogs in development of a low cost technology to culture these fish.
(Link to 1 page: Culturing Mummichogs for the Baitfish Industry)

Horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) Enhancement Initiative
The horseshoe crab is an important species in the Delaware Estuary, providing food for migrating shore birds, biomedical components for medical research and serving as bait for commercial fisheries. Horseshoe crab abundance has declined significantly and there is strong interest in conserving and revitalizing crab abundances. The AIC is evaluating the feasibility for large-scale aquaculture of early life stage crabs for release in the environment.

Aquaculture Innovation Center