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Aquaculture R&D to be expanded at shellfish research centre


Nanaimo, BC – Vancouver Island University says it will expand existing research capacity at the Centre for Shellfish Research by establishing a Shellfish Genomics Laboratory with $400,000 in funding it is receiving from the federal government.

Research will focus on the biological and environmental stress factors inherent in shellfish.

“Shellfish aquaculture is an important component of sustainable coastal economies,” says Dr Ralph Nilson, president and CEO of Vancouver Island University. “The Centre for Shellfish Research has taken a leadership position addressing critical research needs and in doing so providing valuable research and learning opportunities for VIU undergraduate and graduate students.”

As a result of the funding, the university says it will also develop research tools to diagnose stress factors related to transportation, pollution and environment in hatchery-reared larvae and adult shellfish.

“Most people have heard the expression ‘happy as a clam’, but the truth is we do not have any tools to determine if a clam is happy (healthy),” says Dr Helen Gurney-Smith, who lead the shellfish genomics research program. “Genomic science can provide the necessary tools.”