• Growth and post-harvest quality of selected Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) cultured in Kachemak Bay, Alaska, and Puget Sound, Washington, in October of 2009 and June of 2010

      Thomas, Stuart Rendell; Oliveira, Alexandra; RaLonde, Ray; Eckert, Ginny; Langdon, Chris (2012-05)
      The primary objective of this project was to evaluate the growth, biochemical and fatty acid composition, physical and shell characteristics, and basic reproductive development of families of Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) from the USDA-funded Molluscan Broodstock Program (MBP) planted in suspended culture in Kachemak Bay (KB), Alaska, and at an intertidal site in Thorndyke Bay (TB), Puget Sound, Washington. The MBP selects oysters to improve yields, growth, and survival, but little is known about the effects of selective breeding on other biological characteristics of selected oysters. Shell and meat characteristics of oysters from each of the seven highest-yielding MBP families were compared with those from non-selected control families at each site, which were sampled in October of 2009 and in June of 2010. Biometric and growth data, proximate compositions, fatty acid compositions, and basic degree of reproductive development were measured and compared by family, site, and sampling time. Selection improved yield, growth, and survival in MBP Cohort 20 oysters over three years of growout at KB. Colder water temperatures at KB relative to TB inhibited reproductive development, altering the biochemical composition of oysters within sites and between sampling times. Oysters grown at KB were slower growing and smaller when compared to TB, but higher in glycogen, Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids (particularly docosahexaenoic acid: 22:6 Omega 3). Different latitudes and culture types were contributing factors for observed differences in growth, physiology, and composition, resulting in characteristically unique oysters from either site.