284 research outputs found

    The effects of stocking density and ration on survival and growth of winged pearl oyster (Pteria penguin) larvae fed commercially available micro-algae concentrates

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    AbstractCommercially available micro-algae concentrates have been successfully used as an alternative to live micro-algae as a food source during routine larval culture of the winged pearl oyster, Pteria penguin. This supports the development of simplified hatchery facilities and larval rearing protocols that are more appropriate to Pacific island nations. An optimal feeding regime based on these products that also accounts for larval stocking density is yet to be developed. Two experiments were conducted at a commercial pearl oyster hatchery facility in the Kingdom of Tonga to examine the combined effects of stocking density and ration on survival and growth of both D-stage (from 1 to 8 days post-fertilsation) and umbo-stage (from 8 to 17 days) P. penguin larvae. Both experiments used a factorial design combining three larval stocking densities (D-stage: 2, 6 & 10 larvaemL−1; umbo-stage: 1, 3 & 5 larvaemL−1) and three rations (D-stage: 5, 10 & 15 cellsmL−1; umbo-stage: 10, 15 & 20 cellsmL−1). Survival during D-stage was significantly improved in aquaria stocked below 10 larvaemL−1, whereby a density of 6mL−1 maximised larval production. An intermediate ration of 10×103 cellsmL−1 maximised both survival and growth during D-stage. Increasing the initial stocking density of umbo-stage larvae from 1 to 3mL−1 resulted in significant reductions in both survival and growth. Growth of umbo-stage larvae stocked at a density of 1mL−1 increased significantly when ration remained below 20×103 cellsmL−1. The results of this study provide a basis for optimised hatchery culture protocols for P. penguin that are more appropriate to Pacific island nations

    Potential profitability of pearl culture in coastal communities in Tanzania

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    Artisanal half-pearl culture has been shown to provide livelihood and economic opportunities for coastal communities in Tanzania that depend directly on exploitation of marine resources. However, these pilot research studies have been supported by donor organisations and the economic feasibility of such development has not yet been assessed. Furthermore, there is little understanding of the costs required to establish pearl farms and the relative impacts of farm size on production, running costs, profitability and risks involved in production. The aim of this study was to develop economic models for subsistence level half-pearl culture in Tanzania. Models were generated for various scenarios relating to farm size and products (i.e. half-pearls and juvenile oyster or ‘spat’ collection) and they give detail on infrastructure costs, operational costs and income generated for various levels of operation. We concluded that the most profitable model for community-based pearl farming is to culture at least 600 oysters for half-pearl production. However, for communities to be able to run a sustainable and profitable enterprise, development of a sustainable source of oysters is crucial. Farmers can also generate income from collection of juvenile oysters and their subsequent sale to pearl farmers, but this is less profitable than half-pearl farming and requires a longer operational period before profits are made. Like pearl farming, there were major benefits or economies of scale with the largest farms tested providing greatest profit and/or a shorter time required to reach profitability. Our results provide a valuable source of information for prospective pearl farmers, donors, funding bodies and other stakeholders, and valuable extension information supporting further development of pearl culture in Tanzania

    Assessing Pearl Quality Using Reflectance UV-Vis Spectroscopy: Does the Same Donor Produce Consistent Pearl Quality?

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    Two groups of commercial quality (“acceptable”) pearls produced using two donors, and a group of “acceptable” pearls from other donors were analyzed using reflectance UV-Vis spectrophotometry. Three pearls with different colors produced by the same donor showed different absorption spectra. Cream and gold colored pearls showed a wide absorption from 320 to about 460 nm, while there was just slight reflectance around 400 nm by the white pearl with a pink overtone. Cream and gold pearls reached a reflectance peak at 560 to 590 nm, while the white pearl with pink overtone showed slightly wider absorption in this region. Both cream and gold pearls showed an absorption peak after the reflectance peak, at about 700 nm for the cream pearl and 750 nm for the gold pearl. Two other pearls produced by the same donor (white with cream overtone and cream with various overtones) showed similar spectra, which differed in their intensity. One of these pearls had very high lustre and its spectrum showed a much higher percentage reflectance than the second pearl with inferior lustre. This result may indicate that reflectance is a useful quantitative indicator of pearl lustre. The spectra of two white pearls resulting from different donors with the same color nacre (silver) showed a reflectance at 260 nm, followed by absorption at 280 nm and another reflectance peak at 340 nm. After this peak the spectra for these pearls remained flat until a slight absorption peak around 700 nm. Throughout the visible region, all white pearls used in this study showed similar reflectance spectra although there were differences in reflectance intensity. Unlike the spectral results from white pearls, the results from yellow and gold pearls varied according to color saturation of the pearl. The results of this study show that similarities between absorption and reflectance spectra of cultured pearls resulting from the same saibo donor are negligible and could not be detected with UV-Vis spectrophotometry. Nevertheless, this technique could have a role to play in developing less subjective methods of assessing pearl quality and in further studies of the relationships between pearl quality and that of the donor and recipient oysters

    Recovery rates for eight commercial sea cucumber species from the Fiji Islands

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    Determination of the original weight and length of sea cucumbers processed and dried to become bêche-de-mer (BDM), is an important tool in sea cucumber fishery management. The only management mechanism for the sea cucumber fishery in the Fiji Islands is a minimum length prescribed for BDM for export. However, different commercial species have different shrinkage rates during processing and previous studies have suggested modification of fisheries management for sea cucumbers to include species-specific minimum harvest size limits This study determined weight-based and length-based recovery rates (i.e. the length/weight of BDM recovered after processing from the initial length/weight of fresh sea cucumber), for eight commercial sea cucumber species following processing to BDM; White Teatfish (Holothuria fuscogilva), Black Teatfish (Holothuria whitmaei), Tigerfish (Bohadschia argus), Surf Redfish (Actinopyga mauritiana), Hairy Blackfish (Actinopyga miliaris), Stonefish (Actinopyga lecanora), Prickly Redfish (Thelenota ananas) and Sandfish (Holothuria scabra). Length and weight recovery rates varied between species and ranged from the highest recovery values of 54.9% for length and 11% for weight in Black Teatfish, to the lowest recovery values of 32.6% for length and 3.0% for weight in Sandfish and Tigerfish, respectively. Length-based and weight-based relationships were generated for each species through the various stages of processing from fresh to dried (BDM) allowing estimation of initial fresh weight/length from partially or fully processed BDM and vice versa. Information generated in this study provides a basis for developing more species-specific harvest size restrictions for sea cucumbers in the Fiji Islands, and has application in stock assessment studies, estimation of harvest data, monitoring of harvest size limits and standardizing catch data

    Influence of Moult Cycles on Digestive Enzyme Activities during Early Larval Stages of Panulirus ornatus

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    The tropical spiny lobster, Panulirus ornatus, has a complex life cycle characterised by a series of moults that occur throughout pelagic larval stages. Significant morphological, physiological, and biochemical changes commonly coincide with moulting and can have dietary implications when culturing this species. Digestive enzyme activities respond to nutritional requirements and have provided useful insight into nutrient use dynamics associated with first-feeding in P. ornatus. Beyond first-feeding, however, information on digestive enzyme activities in P. ornatus is scarce. Greater knowledge of fluctuations in digestive enzyme activities during moult cycles should facilitate better formulation of feeds and more efficient feeding regimens. As an initial step towards this goal, the present study evaluated the influence of moult cycles on digestive enzyme activities during early larval stages of P. ornatus. The investigation focused exclusively on early larval stages (stages I-III) when delivery of appropriate feeds and nutrition can dramatically affect subsequent growth and survival

    Trace metal content in sediment cores and seagrass biomass from a tropical southwest Pacific Island

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    A unique feature of seagrass among other ecosystem services is to have high phytoremediation potential that is a cost-effective plant-based approach and environmentally friendly solution for metal contamination in coastal areas. The goal of this study was to assess the phytoremediation prospective of seagrass for Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn in Fiji Islands. Heavy metal content was measured in sediments and tissues of the seagrasses Halophila ovalis, Halodule pinifolia and Halodule uninervis to test for local-scale differences. The local study shows that metal concentration in sediment and seagrass tissue was significantly variable, regardless of species and sediment type. Sedimentary concentration of Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn obtained in the present study seemed to be lower than that of previous studies. The results support that H. ovalis is a good bioindicator species since it accumulated up to 5-fold more of these metals compared to the Halodule species

    Mitochondrial and nuclear genetic analyses of the tropical black-lip rock oyster (Saccostrea echinata) reveals population subdivision and informs sustainable aquaculture development

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    The black-lip rock oyster (Saccostrea echinata) has considerable potential for aquaculture throughout the tropics. Previous attempts to farm S. echinata failed due to an insufficient supply of wild spat; however, the prospect of hatchery-based aquaculture has stimulated renewed interest, and small-scale farming is underway across northern Australia and in New Caledonia. The absence of knowledge surrounding the population genetic structure of this species has raised concerns about the genetic impacts of this emerging aquaculture industry. This study is the first to examine population genetics of S. echinata and employs both mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene (COI) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers

    Genome-wide comparisons reveal evidence for a species complex in the black-lip pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera (Bivalvia: Pteriidae)

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    Evolutionary relationships in the black-lip pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera which is highly valued for pearl production remain poorly understood. This species possesses an 18,000 km Indo-Pacific natural distribution, and its current description includes six subspecies defined exclusively on morphological characters. To evaluate its taxonomic identity using molecular data, 14 populations in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans (n = 69), and the congeneric taxa P. maxima and P. mazatlanica (n = 29 and n = 10, respectively) were sampled. Phylogenomic reconstruction was carried out using both 8,308 genome-wide SNPs and 10,000 dominant loci (DArTseq PAVs). Reconstructions using neighbour-joining (Nei’s 1972 distances), maximum likelihood and Bayesian approaches all indicate that the taxonomy of P. margaritifera is quite complex, with distinct evolutionary significant units (ESUs) identified within Tanzanian and Iranian populations. Contrastingly, phylogenies generated for Pacific Ocean oysters resolved a large monophyletic clade, suggesting little support for two current morphological subspecies classifications. Furthermore, P. mazatlanica formed a basal clade closest to French Polynesian P. margaritifera, suggesting it may be conspecific. Collectively, these findings provide evidence that P. margaritifera comprises a species complex, perhaps as a result of population fragmentation and increased divergence at range limits

    Anaesthetic induced relaxation of the winged pearl oyster, Pteria penguin, varies with oyster size and anaesthetic concentration

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    Stress and mortality of pearl oysters during nucleus implanting for round pearl and mabé pearl production can be reduced using appropriate anaesthetics that allow improved access to nucleus implanting sites. This study evaluated the efficacy of three different concentrations of benzocaine (0.25, 0.50 and 1.20 g L-1) and 1-propylene phenoxetol (2.50, 3.00 and 3.50 mL L-1) when presented to ‘small’ (dorso-ventral height [DVH], 78.7 ± 1.6 mm), ‘medium’ (DVH, 118.2 ± 2.0 mm) and ‘large’ (DVH, 149.3 ± 1.1 mm) cohorts of the winged pearl oyster, Pteria penguin. Results showed the following general trends across treatments with both anaesthetics: (1) greater proportions of large oysters became relaxed compared to small oysters; (2) large oysters required shorter exposure times to become relaxed than small oysters; (3) for each size class of oyster, an increase in anaesthetic concentration resulted in an increased proportion of relaxed oysters; and (4) ‘mantle collapse’ (where the mantle collapses away from the shell) was only recorded in large oysters in treatments with higher concentrations of anaesthetics. The most effective concentration of benzocaine to use with small, medium and large Pt. penguin was the highest level tested in this study (1.20 g L-1). Similarly, the highest concentration of 1-propylene phenoxetol tested (3.5 mL L-1) was also the most effective with all three size classes of Pt. penguin. These treatments caused mantle collapse in large oysters, for which use of lower, less effective anaesthetic concentrations may be considered preferable, to avoid potentially negative impacts of mantle collapse on subsequent mabé pearl production. As well as efficacy, choice of anaesthetic should consider ease of preparation and preparation time. Benzocaine requires dissolving in methyl alcohol and heating to 88–92˚C, while 1-propylene phenoxetol is readily soluble in seawater

    Natural rarity places clownfish colour morphs at risk of targeted and opportunistic exploitation in a marine aquarium fishery

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    As fish stocks become depleted, exploitation eventually fails to be cost-efficient. However, species or morphs of species can suffer from continual exploitation if their rarity results in increased value, justifying the cost-efficiency of targeted or opportunistic exploitation. The trade in coral reef fishes for public and private aquaria is an industry in which naturally rare species and rare morphs of species command high prices. Here we investigate the relationship between price and the natural prevalence of colour morphs of two highly demanded clownfish species using a localised case study. The export prices for colour morphs increased with decreasing prevalence of occurrence (y = 4.60x−0.51, R2 = 0.43), but price increase was inversely less than the observed reduction in prevalence. This renders rare colour morphs (i.e., those at relatively low prevalence) at risk of opportunistic exploitation. Using ecological data, we also demonstrate how this increased value can subject rare colour morphs with aggregated distributions to targeted exploitation. These findings are discussed in relation to the broader marine aquarium trade, identifying taxa potentially at risk from exploitation motivated by rarity and addressing potential management strategies
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