News & Events

Midyear Updates on CTSA Funded Projects: Impact Highlights

Jun 26, 2019

CTSA is in the process of conducting our bi-annual project update conference calls, which coincide with progress reports due at the end of May each year. The purpose of these calls is for CTSA staff and a project Industry Liaison to discuss the project progress in depth to ensure it is on track to complete its objectives and meet industry needs. The following are some highlights from ongoing or recently completed CTSA projects:

Disease prevalence survey of wild mud crab populations in the US-affiliated Pacific Islands
This recently completed project collected mud crab tissue samples from Guam, Palau, Kosrae, and Pohnpei, and assayed them for genetic variability with novel microsatellite markers, developed as part of the study. Samples were also assayed for three diseases: WSV, TSV, and MCRV. The results found significant genetic differentiation, representing the first such finding with microsatellite markers in Scylla sp. Disease testing suggests that mud crab populations in the USAPI are not significant vectors for WSSV and TSV. However, a small, but significant, portion of mud crabs do carry MCRV and care should be taken not to introduce this pathogen to crab farms or to transfer this pathogens in regions unaffected by the disease. The novel microsatellite markers developed in this study provide tools to farmers, researchers, and resource managers to evaluate genetic diversity in mud crabs. A full feature article on this project is forthcoming.

Improving the commercial aquaculture feasibility for Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens): Resolving early bottlenecks to improve culture yield
This ongoing project is working to increase production of Yellow Tang at the Oceanic Institute. The work completed to date has revealed valuable insights into Yellow Tang F1 stock maturation and egg production. It was not expected that fish would be spawning at this young age and it is a very positive sign that egg production and egg quality will improve rapidly with time. The research group expects that spawning will improve into the summer and early fall (as historically that is when they see larger spawns) and will therefore initiate hatchery trials once they obtain sufficient numbers of viable eggs. It is important to note that Yellow Tang juveniles currently being produced under a separately funded project are now being widely distributed to the aquarium trade; it is expected that the results from this project will greatly enhance that production project, further increasing the impacts of this work, as they will immediately be put into practice at large-scale.

Aquaculture Workshop at Oceanic Institute for Students of Waianae High School’s Aquaculture Program
The primary purpose of this two-year project is to conduct an in-depth annual aquaculture workshop with students from Waianae HS. The PI first worked together with educators at Waianae HS to develop and finalize a workshop curriculum, activities schedule, and workbook content. They then conducted a three-day aquaculture workshop March 27-29, 2019, at the Oceanic Institute of Hawai‘i Pacific University. Twenty-two students and 5 teachers/chaperones attended the 3-day aquaculture workshop, which featured activities involving finfish, shrimp, live larval feed organisms, microalgae, environmental DNA (eDNA), an aquaculture business game, college mini-fair, and career lunch mingle. These activities increased the participants’ knowledge and skills in the various subjects presented. It also provided the participants with ideas for furthering their education and possible careers in the field of aquaculture or related professions. A full feature article on this project is forthcoming.