China’s first success at giant clam breeding

Thank you Professor Yu Ziniu and Dr Zhang Yuehuan of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology (SCSIO) for sharing this wonderful news with me! Their research team has recently successfully cultured their first batch of fluted giant clams, and will be publishing their results soon. Not only that, they are now the first group to have successfully done so in China. Congratulations!

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Press release about the local workshop on giant clam breeding techniques.

Here’s a brief translated summary of the press release in Chinese:

Professor Yu Ziniu from the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences hosted a seminar to share the results of their research on the breeding of giant clams to a panel of experts. They verified their results, and announced that the team has made a breakthrough in overcoming the low survival rates of metamorphosed giant clam larvae, as well as producing the country’s first batch of fluted giant clam spats. Thus, securing the techniques for successful giant clam culture and resource restoration.

Giant clams are a type of tropical bivalve, inhabiting the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and South China Sea, etc… The unique feature of the animal is their enlarged hypertrophied mantle that hosts large numbers of zooxanthellae cells, allowing them to make use of sunlight to generate food and energy.

Giant clams are not only an important aquarium and commercial species, they also play various ecological roles on coral reefs, protecting and supporting reef life, as well as reef-scale protection. Although internationally, giant clam mariculture has had success, China was not able to produce giant clam larvae for many years due to the bottleneck problem of introducing sufficient zooxanthellae to induce metamorphosis in larvae.

The research team comprised of Professor Yu Ziniu, Dr Zhang Yuehuan, and Dr Xiao Shu, had spent the last two years perfecting the culture techniques, solving the problems of zooxanthellae innoculation that increases metamorphosis rates, and other spat culture techniques to raise survivorship.

Research exchange with SCSIO, Guangzhou, 7-10 April 2016

It was my great pleasure to have been invited by SCSIO earlier this year to share our own Singapore experience with mariculture of giant clams. Since then, we have been discussing various questions, and the team has been able to overcome their own local problems to successfully produce their first batch of baby clams! A first step towards conservation and restoration of the species in China. 🙂

Looking forward to future work from them…

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