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The development of genomic tools for the assessment of impacts of aquaculture activities on the environment using mussels (Mytilus edulis) and native little neck clams (Protothaca staminea) as bio-indicator species



Often referred to as keystone species, bivalves are major components of coastal and estuarine ecosystems and play a prominent role in the development of ecosystem health indices and values, which can then be applied to ecosystems in general. It is well documented that stressful environmental conditions (natural or man-made) affect aquatic animal physiological performance (e.g., growth and fecundity), health and survival. Unlike finfish, for which sensitive biochemical assays, genomic tools and visual indicators of stress are available, there are few informative and reliable tools for bivalves. Through this project we will develop genomic tools to aid in the study of native little neck clam responses to environmental and anthropogenic factors. The development of genomic tools for mussels is supported by Genome British Columbia through the "Development of a Health Assessment Tool for Marine Mussels (Myt-OME) Project". Taken together these tools will facilitate the use of these species as bio-indicators in the assessment of ecosystem health and resilience in the presence of aquaculture and other potential stressors.





Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)


2008 - 2009



Principal Investigator(s)

Stewart Johnson

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