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Improving physiological health of oysters by selecting seed for stress resilience



Successful oyster culture is dependent on the use of seed that can grow well in both optimal and stressful environmental conditions. The amount of energy reserves, or the ability to produce energy from food intake, dictates how long shellfish can survive in a stressful environment or when challenged by a disease. Access to a consistent supply of high quality and resilient seed stocks (i.e., those with the capacity to launch an immune response when faced with pathogens or withstand fluctuations in salinity and temperature associated with climate change) has been identified as a key constraint for the continued viability and expansion of the Eastern Oyster industry in Atlantic Canada. Selecting oysters that are more efficient (lower metabolic need, better feed conversion and lower reproductive effort) and have increased resistance to deal with stressful events (lower stress response) will ultimately be healthier and thus have greater resilience to pathogens and environmental changes. This project will identify genetic markers in the Eastern Oyster associated with metabolic and feed conversion efficiency with the goal of producing a first generation crop of oysters that displays these particular traits while monitoring its success under various growing conditions. Having efficient and resilient oysters will ensure that if faced with pathogen or environmental stressor, oysters will have an increased capacity to launch an immune response.

This project supports the optimal fish health management objective of the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) and pertains to the 2014-15 national ACRDP priority of maintaining healthy populations through the proactive development of approaches to manage health issues that may arise for cultured shellfish species.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2014 - 2017


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Denise Méthé
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Gulf Fisheries Centre

Collaborative Partner(s)

L'Écloserie Acadienne Ltd.

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