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Feasibility of Suspended Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and California Sea Cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) Polyculture



Sedimentation of particulate organic matter from bivalve feces and pseudofeces reflect the ingestion and processing of plankton. The feces contain significant energy components due to unassimilated food and bacteria and bivalve pseudofeces are composed mainly of unutilized phytoplankton. Experimental studies have shown that bivalves can filter water and deposit large quantities of feces and pseudofeces. The production of feces and pseudofeces by bivalves grown in suspended aquaculture can result in high rates of bio-deposition beneath the farms. The impact of bivalve culture on the local benthic environment is largely attributed to the copious amounts of biodeposits produced. The reworking of sediments by the California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) could slow the rate of organic enrichment below aquaculture operations. The concept of polyculture may be applicable to P. californicus and Crassostrea gigas, the successfully farmed Pacific oyster. If California sea cucumbers are able to utilize particulate waste products (feces and pseudofeces) generated by commercial oyster culture farms, organic-rich bio-deposits could be transformed into a marketable product (sea cucumber biomass).

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2004 - 2006


Pacific: North Coast and Hecate Strait

Principal Investigator(s)

Chris Pearce

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