Endangered abalone restoration efforts and commercial abalone farming in California have been struggling with disease and reproductive failure. Many abalone are infected with a serious pathogen, CXc, that cause withering syndrome under certain environmental conditions. Even in the absence of disease, captive abalone are difficult to reliably condition for spawning, and reproductive maturation processes are very poorly understood.
In this study, the researchers plan to explore the impact of temperature on CXc infection and gametogenesis, to help develop best practices for captive abalone reproductive conditioning. The project will also attempt to develop a molecular marker for gametogenesis, which would allow farmers to track when abalone broodstock are ready to spawn and to develop optimal conditioning protocols. This information will aid both endangered white abalone restoration and red abalone commercial aquaculture.