Secure and stabilised hatchery production of bivalve seed is the unifying objective of the REPROSEED project. Development of innovative new methods will lead to high quality seed of guaranteed physiological health, sanitary status and genetic diversity. By considering the biology of bivalve life stages and the trophic and microbial environment of rearing conditions REPROSEED researches ways of controlling key processes, like reproduction, larval rearing and metamorphosis. New technological advances, like recirculation systems and outdoor algal culture, will provide ways to reduce costs. The need for hatcheries is growing in Europe due to demands from the shellfish industry for quality juveniles and concerns about wild seed due to inconsistent spatfall or environmental harm caused by seed collection of some species. Four economically important molluscs were selected to represent these needs: two species already reared in hatcheries, Crassostrea gigas and Pecten maximus, and two emerging hatchery species, Mytilus edulis and Ruditapes decussatus. Scientific research is most advanced for C. gigas, so its further development will enable us to attain a level of excellence. Knowledge on this species and on P. maximus, an excellent model for solving particular bivalve rearing problems, can also help improve hatchery culture of the other species. Inter-specific differences enable comparative study of important traits. REPROSEED investigates the physiological basis of early sexual maturation, gamete competency, immunity and metamorphosis, at cellular and molecular levels, including genomics and proteomics. Application of these results and dedicated studies will be made on practical aspects of controlled bivalve reproduction, nutritional needs for broodstock conditioning and larval growth (including testing of mutant yeasts and lipid microcapsules) and the benefits of probiotics. Advances will be shared with end-users throughout the project.
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project