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Develop diagnostic markers to assess mussel population health in response to environmental stress



This project will use modern genomic techniques to better enable mussel farmers to identify “stressors” impacting their crop’s health. The research will seek to identify genetic markers for various stress responses in mussels which may result in poor performance (growth). These markers can then be used to investigate the causes of stress within underperforming mussel populations and develop mitigating strategies to minimize the impacts of the underlying environmental/mechanical stressors on the long term viability of the mussel aquaculture industry in Prince Edward Island.

This project is focused on generating better tools to enable the aquaculture industry to determine and analyse the stressors that impact cultured blue mussels and what effects these stressors can have on mussel condition and health. Maintaining healthy populations is of vital importance to the aquaculture industry and this project aims to be proactive in managing health issues that may arise for cultured shellfish species in relation to climate change (water temperature and pH), tunicate treatment (high pressure water spray and hydrated lime) and other environmental stressors (food availability, hypoxia, and salinity).

The overall benefit of this project will be a proactive approach in providing insight and direction to the aquaculture industry in terms of adapting, controlling, or mitigating against the impacts related to environmental and other stressors in efforts to achieve optimal condition and health of cultured mussels.

Program name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


4-year project

Principal investigator

Denise Méthé
Aquatic Research Biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Gulf Region

Team members

  • Sarah Stewart-Clark, Dalhousie University, Faculty of Agriculture
  • Stephanie Hall, Dalhousie University, Faculty of Agriculture
  • Carla Hicks, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Fisheries Centre, Gulf Region
  • Fraser Clark, Mount Allison University


  • Peter Warris, Prince Edward Island Aquaculture Alliance
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