Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enhancing mussel conservation, pearl production

Date:
January 30, 2014
Source:
Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Summary:
Mollusk researchers in the United States and China are collaborating to promote freshwater mussel conservation, develop more robust and productive pearl-producing Chinese mussels, and possibly introduce a U.S. mussel to China that has the potential to produce colored pearls.

Dan Hua is facilitating collaboration between Virginia Tech and Chinese scientists on freshwater mussel conservation.
Credit: Virginia Tech

Mollusk researchers at Virginia Tech in the United States and at the Freshwater Fisheries Research Center in Wuxi, China, are collaborating to promote freshwater mussel conservation, develop more robust and productive pearl-producing Chinese mussels, and possibly introduce a U.S. mussel to China that has the potential to produce colored pearls.

"Just like the eastern United States, China has a rich diversity of freshwater mussels, which is imperiled by humans building dams, for instance, and introducing toxins into the waterways," said Eric Hallerman, a professor of fish and wildlife conservation in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and Environment.

Both countries are working on mussel conservation, and Dan Hua of Blacksburg, Va., a doctoral student in fish and wildlife conservation in the college and laboratory manager of Virginia Tech's Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Center, decided an information exchange and collaboration would benefit both.

Hua worked at the Freshwater Fisheries Research Center in Wuxi before coming to Virginia Tech and retains her associate professor and research supervisor titles there. She has been studying with Hallerman, who is a leader in genetic improvement of aquaculture stocks, aquaculture biotechnology and related public policy, and genetics education.

"Hua told her Chinese colleagues that collaboration with Virginia Tech could help," said Hallerman, who is affiliated with the university's Fralin Life Science Institute. "We visited Wuxi in 2011 and in a second trip in 2013 we dedicated a new lab there."

The 2013 trip included Hallerman, Hua, Professor Emeritus Dick Neves, and Don Hubbs, mussel program coordinator at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. "We visited field sites and aquatic resources management agencies throughout the lower Yangtze River valley as far inland as the Three Gorges Dam," said Hallerman.

Neves, founder and former leader of Virginia Tech's Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Center, has conducted field and laboratory studies of Virginia's and Tennessee's endangered mussels for 30 years, including development of survey and propagation techniques for federal and state agencies.

Hubbs also has restored mussels to Tennessee rivers and provided Hua with the pearl-producing pink heelsplitter mussel for her research, which is playing a role in the new partnership.

There have already been tangible outcomes from the new lab, called the Freshwater Fisheries Research Center-Virginia Tech Cooperative International Laboratory for Germplasm Conservation and Utilization of Freshwater Mollusks.

"The North American pink heelsplitter, which produces pink- to purple-colored pearls, is advancing as a candidate species for production of colored freshwater pearls in China," Hallerman said. "The colored pearls would be good for the Chinese pearl industry, and producing the baby mussels in Tennessee for shipment to China would be a good cottage industry for that state."

Virginia Tech hosted visiting scientist Wen Haibo of the Freshwater Fisheries Research Center in November to see pink heelsplitter propagation. Wen and his Virginia Tech colleagues are also studying the possibility of selective breeding of the Chinese mussel Hyriopsis cumingii, which is currently the focal species for freshwater pearl production in China.

"The faster it grows, the faster it produces pearls," said Hallerman. "Males grow faster, so we want to be able to do selective breeding for male-skewed production."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). "Enhancing mussel conservation, pearl production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130164315.htm>.
Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). (2014, January 30). Enhancing mussel conservation, pearl production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130164315.htm
Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). "Enhancing mussel conservation, pearl production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130164315.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins