Phaeodactylum tricornutum as a Food Source for Texas Oysters




Barrada, Elena


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Over the course of approximately two months, the algae Phaeodactylum tricornutum, a diatom that is more resilient in colder weather, was used in the determination of its viability as an adequate form of nutrition for seed oysters of the species Crassostrea virginica, that inhabit water sheds along the Texas coastal bend. The two water sheds of interest are the hypersaline Laguna Madre in which the “southern Oysters” of this experiment originate and the Copano Bay area, where the “northern Oysters” originate. In this study there will be 5 tanks (Tank 1 - Tank 5), each of which containing 100 southern seed oysters and 20 northern seed oysters of the same size, respectively, filled to 25.4 centimeters with water from the Laguna Madre. Each tank is provided calculated amounts of algae based on size as described by the Food and Agriculture Organization manual (Helm et al., 2004). When comparing the recorded size data in correlation to each of the treatments (Treatments A - B), it was found that for treatment B there was a significance in percent change in size (northern oysters: P-value of 1.01E-05, and in the southern oysters: P-value of 3.64E-08) with the incorporation of P. tricornutum as 25% of the diet composition in combination with Chaetocerous muelleri as 37.5% of diet the composition, and Tetraselmis chui as 35.7% of diet the composition. This information is important in that it could provide a more cost effective and less labor-intensive solution for nutrition sources in cooler weather, in turn leading to a potentially more productive year for oyster farming.


College of Science, Honors Program; Faculty Mentor: Ivy Jones, Ph.D.


upweller, wild harvest, sustainable