ABC played a pivotal role during the intense period of non-native research in the Chesapeake Bay region:
- We imported three geographical races of the test oyster, Crassostrea ariakensis, from Asia and the west coast of the U.S., and held them under secure conditions for the duration of the trial period. For this activity, the biosecurity facilities at the Kauffman Aquaculture Center were critical.
- We had the technology that enabled the production of triploid (or sterile) C. ariakensis for testing. The problem with testing non-natives is that there is generally no way to prevent them from releasing gametes into the water during the reproductive period. The only effective "control" was production of triploids, using female parents of normal diploids and male parents of tetraploids. In this way, we were able to obtain batches of triploids that were at least 99.95% triploid. Production of these sterile non-natives enabled experiments from North Carolina to Maryland, to help gather valuable data for the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement process.
- We produced several million triploid C. ariakensis seed, which allowed as many as 20 different industry members to grow crops of non-native oysters and compare them to triploid natives, C. virginica.
Although non-natives have been ruled out for introduction to Chesapeake Bay, the triploid technology is still available to improve the value of our native oyster for farming.