Aquanauts: a Transformative Research and Training Experience for Undergraduates in Shellfish Aquaculture

Project Number
Project Date Range
Focus Area(s)
Education, Training and Public Information, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

Abalone and oysters are popular shellfish in aquaculture, valued as both food and for their shells. But the development of sustainable aquaculture in California already lags behind the demand for these species, and ocean acidification will further challenge the growth of the industry. More research is needed to develop techniques for successfully and sustainably cultivating shellfish in the face of climate change. Innovation in the field will benefit from researchers from diverse backgrounds with a variety of perspectives.

This project will support an aquaculture training and research program for a diverse group of undergraduate students at San José State University. Through mentorship, hands-on experience and opportunities for independent research, the program aims to introduce students to career paths in aquaculture and build lasting relationships between students, mentors and industry partners.

Beginning the summer before their senior year, students in aquaculture-related majors will visit industry professionals and gain research experience in integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA). IMTA design grows multiple species together in order to improve overall species health. At San José State University’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, scientists are growing abalone and oysters together with seaweed. Because seaweed draws carbon dioxide out of the water, its presence helps to reduce the impacts of ocean acidification on shelled animals like abalone and oysters. Students will have the opportunity to pursue independent research under the guidance of graduate students, academic researchers at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and industry partners. These projects will help the students develop skill sets in biomechanics, physiology, husbandry and climate change research and contribute to current aquaculture science. 

Principal Investigators
profile photo of Maya deVries Maya deVries
San Jose State University (San Jose State)
Co-principal Investigators
Scott Hamilton
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories / San Jose State University
Michael Graham
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories / San Jose State University
profile photo of Luke Gardner Luke Gardner
University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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