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Cadminum in Deep Water Cultured Pacific Oysters: The Potential Role of Phytoplankton



The main objective of this research is to develop management tools for oyster cadmium levels so that markets in Hong Kong and the EU will be open and to prevent potential future limitations with marketing shellfish products in North America. The first objective is to investigate the variability of cadmium concentration among oysters, oyster tissues, sites, and depths. We will be examining the relative concentrations of cadmium in the stomach, and other body tissues. If cadmium concentrations are significantly higher in the stomach, we will then pursue testing the efficacy of depuration as a potential technique for reducing oyster cadmium levels. The second objective is to investigate the potential cadmium pathway of uptake by phytoplankton and subsequent transfer to oysters. In order to achieve this, we will establish a profile of cadmium concentrations in oysters, phytoplankton, and ambient seawater concurrently over the period of a full year. At the same time, we will monitor the naturally occurring phytoplankton communities so that, if appropriate, correlations can later be drawn between the species of phytoplankton present and elevated cadmium levels in oysters. If this is the case, regular monitoring of phytoplankton at oyster growing sites could provide an early warning system for potentially elevated cadmium levels. In addition, the profiles of cadmium should provide growers with a tool for predicting seasonal variations in the cadmium in oysters and adjusting their harvest schedules appropriately

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2004 - 2006


Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast

Principal Investigator(s)

Chris Pearce


Cadmium in Deepwater-Cultured Pacific Oysters

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