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SAMS PhD student leads paper in special edition of journal

New findings on four of Europe’s most important commercial shellfish species have been published in a special issue of the international journal Marine Genomics.

From biomimicry to population genetics, the results published this month explore the issues facing the shellfish industry - worth in excess of an estimated €526 million a year – and how farmed oysters, mussels, clams and scallops will fare under climate change and ocean acidification.

This is the most comprehensive study of shellfish produced by young researchers as part of the EU-funded CACHE partnership on how shells are produced and maintained and what can be applied to industry.

German Kati Michalek (left), who is studying at the Oban-based Scottish Association for Marine Science, is one of 10 PhD students on the prestigious CACHE partnership and has looked into the effects of interbreeding on the Scottish mussel industry.

She said: “We feel truly honoured to be published in a Marine Genomics special issue, solely dedicated to the work performed by early career scientists. I hope that our research will be of particular help for local shellfish farmers and authority bodies, understanding how shellfish aquaculture will thrive in future and identify potential actions to be taken.”

The CACHE partnership (Calcium in a Changing Environment) is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN), which has the aim of studying how shells are produced and controlled in four of Europe’s most important commercial marine shellfish species.

CACHE Principal Investigator and Co-ordinator plus co-author, Dr Melody Clark, from British Antarctic Survey (BAS), said: “Our oceans are changing; they are becoming warmer and more acidic so understanding how these commercially important shellfish can deal with future change is essential. I’m really excited to see the publication of this special issue dedicated to the work of young researchers in our network.

"These preliminary results show great promise as building blocks for future research on shells and shell production. This is an area of increasing importance as it impacts on sustainability and socioeconomic issues."

Cells to shells: the genomics of mollusc exoskeletons is published as a special issue of Marine Genomics in June 2016. Marine Genomics, Vol 27, p 1-90:

Michalek et al. (2016) “Mytilus hybridisation and impact on aquaculture: A minireview” can be read here.

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