NOAA Sea Grant to Enhance Bivalve Aquaculture
The Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory (HSRL) was awarded a $592,390 NOAA Sea Grant to enhance bivalve aquaculture—important to the socioeconomic wellbeing of coastal areas depressed by the decline of wild fisheries. Principal investigator is Ximing Guo, professor and shellfish geneticist, with co-PIs: Daphne Munroe, associate professor, HSRL; Lisa Calvo, shellfish aquaculture program coordinator; David Bushek, director, HSRL; Mike De Luca, director of the Rutgers Aquaculture Innovation Center; and Peter Rowe, director of research and extension, NJ Sea Grant).
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 grow-out, research, and restoration. In 2016, approximately 25 million seed oysters and larvae were distributed. For more information on the disease-resistant Rutgers oysters and how to order Rutgers them, visit the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory and the Rutgers oyster seed order form.
Development of Beneficial Compounds via Algal Photo-Bioreactors
Microalgae produce a number of valuable biochemical compounds, such as polyunsaturated 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 humans, 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.
Can multiple species be raised together on aquaculture farms and lead to increased and diversified yields? Current studies include growing various species, such as the Eastern oyster, soft clam, surfclam and hard clam, simultaneously to see if they are compatible for co-culture.
Bay Scallop Ecology and Restoration Efforts
The decimation of seagrass beds has nearly wiped out the bay scallop population. Current studies include measuring how the bay scallop grows in various seagrass bed densities. Can it grow successfully in an area where there is no seagrass present? Or, does it prefer a medium or high density of seagrass?
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 AIC 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.
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 the horseshoe crab population. The AIC is evaluating the feasibility for large-scale aquaculture of early life stage crabs for release in the environment.