Natural triploids of the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica have only been available for commercial use for the past 15-17 years elsewhere in the U.S., and not until 2014 in Florida. Despite the proof of concept in other coastal states, there is a need to understand whether the application of triploidy in the development of the emergent industry in Florida will result in increased production and economic gains. Florida represents the southernmost limit of natural distribution for the eastern oyster in the United States. In contrast to other states, Florida’s subtropical water temperatures result in a prolonged spawning season for oysters. The effects of triploidy, which results in reproductive sterility, on the performance of cultured oysters produced by tetraploid technology under these conditions have not yet been documented.
To address increased interest in oyster aquaculture, an applied research and demonstration project was conducted during 2016-17 to evaluate this oyster breeding process in Florida conditions. Diploid and triploid oysters were cultured at commercial farms in five counties and at the UF experimental site, where replicated field trials allowed for documenting effects of management practices on production. The results of the NOAA National Sea Grant-funded project can provide baseline information, allowing for comparisons as Florida-specific tetraploid broodstock are developed and as growers continue to improve management practices.
Workshops provided updates and results of two projects addressing the application of triploid-tetraploid technology on Florida’s west coast.
Topics and guest speakers included: