Future-Proofing Abalone Aquaculture In A Changing Climate

Mentor & Lab: Racine Rangel – Kroeker Lab

Positions: 1-2 interns

Tentative dates: Late June – mid August

Project Location: Coastal Biology Building (CBB) and the Long Marine Lab with some potential day trips to the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab

Project Background: Aquaculture produces approximately half of the global seafood trade and is vital for the food security of millions worldwide. However, aquaculture is threatened by the accelerating changes of ocean acidification caused my climate change. Thus, there is a critical need to understand what strategies may safeguard the sustainability of aquaculture production. This summer we are testing out whether transgenerational plasticity (TGP) and parental diets are promising mechanisms that could be used to ‘future-proof’ populations of the culturally, economically, and ecologically valuable species, the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) to future ocean acidification. TGP occurs when the environmental conditions experienced by parents positively or negatively influence the phenotype of their offspring. We will be growing different types of algae and feeding it to adult abalone in a mesocosm system under various ocean acidification treatments and then spawning and rearing their offspring to determine effects of diet and TGP to ocean acidification. These results will provide support for abalone aquaculture production and conservation breeding programs in California and globally.

Intern duties: This research project provides ample skill-building opportunities for interns and may be tailored to fit each mentee’s preferred areas of growth. Interns may learn about animal husbandry, measuring individual’s growth, size, and reproduction, seawater system maintenance, culturing and preparing algae for grazing trials, culturing diatoms (food for baby abalone), and microscope skills. Other experimental skills include freezing and drying algae specimens for lipid analyses and measuring calcification rates of larval abalone. Additional skills include data entry, data management, and data analysis in Excel, R, and ImageJ.

Intern qualifications: We will be working with very small larvae at times, so ability and comfort looking through a microscope for extended periods of time would be helpful. Helping with spawning of adult abalone may also be time consuming, so ability to be on feet for long hours, as well as being comfortable handling biological specimens. All other training will be done with the mentor and no prior experience is needed.

Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?
If they are able to it would be great to have them begin working early on the project! However, this is not necessary.

UC Santa Cruz Land Acknowledgement

The land from which we base our work is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.