Sampling Pacific oysters at Manchester

Below is a post from Yaamini's Notebook

Today we went out to NOAA's Manchester Facility to sample our oysters before placing them in our ocean acidification system! We collected length and weight information for twenty oysters, and extracted adductor, ctenidia (gill), mantle and gonad tissues. Gonad tissue was put in histology cassettes and then placed in fixatives.

Data sheet

Here are some photos from our time at Manchester!

Getting excited to shuck Pacific oysters as large as my face! large oyster

We layed out each oyster to weigh, measure and extract tissue. oyster organization

Some of the oysters were so large we had to hammer them open. hammer

Once open, we extracted four tissue types. Then we removed the body and reweighed the empty shell. shucked oyster

perfect oyster

These are the histology cassettes we used to hold gonad samples. Pictured here are the samples for the Olympia oysters. The Pacific oyster samples were tissue pieces, as opposed to the whole gonad. histology cassette

Megan, Laura and Olivia working on Olympia oysters! team oly


Dead oysters are gross.

dead oly

Meanwhile, Steven worked on setting up some plumbing.

steven plumbing

You can find the rest of the photos I took on my Flickr.

Overall it was an extremely productive day! We'll be back out on Feb. 8 to set up the ocean acidification system.


Written by Charles Dueber

Cyclodextrins are composed of sugar molecules bound into a ring called a cyclic oligosaccharide. There are three main types of cyclodextrins: α, β, and γ (shown below). The unique molecular structure of cyclodextrin gives it a hydrophobic interior cavity and hydrophilic exterior, however, the entire molecule is water soluble. This quality has allowed cyclodextrins to be used in the pharmaceutical industry as drug carrier molecules. Recently, it was found that cyclodextrins can be used all by themselves to stimulate the innate immune system. Unpublished data from the University of Wisconsin has shown that zebrafish larvae treated with cyclodextrin and then challenged by lethal concentrations of bacterial LPS had a survival rate of nearly 100% .


My capstone project is looking at whether β-cyclodextrin can be used to stimulate an immune response in the Pacific oyster. I am interested in this because local shellfish hatcheries have had trouble with outbreaks of the bacteria Vibrio tubiashii which can cause significant mortality to larval and juvenile Pacific oyster production (Elston et al. 2008). Unfortunately, few chemical therapeutants have been approved for use in aquaculture especially for prophylactic use. Cyclodextrin could be a novel immune stimulant that has the potential to enhance shellfish production. I recently performed the experiment for my project which consisted of three treatment groups of oysters: control, β-cyclodextrin exposed, and Vibrio tubiashii exposed. Each group was exposed to their corresponding treatment for 24 hours after which gill and mantle samples were taken. RNA was then isolated from the samples and is currently being used to make cDNA. Expression of defense genes will be analyzed via qPCR to determine if there is a difference between oysters in the control, β-cyclodextrin, and V. tubiashii groups. If you're interested in my project you can take a look at my notebook here.