The ocean and bay shorelines of Fire Island (Photo: National Parks Service)
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Funding helps researchers clam up

A collaborative effort to shore up East Coast clam populations is one of the projects that will share $16 million in federal funding.

The money, awarded by the National Sea Grant College Program, will assist several marine projects piloted by New York Sea Grant, some of which are taking place at Stony Brook University.

The East Coast Hard Clam Selective Breeding Collaborative Project aims to develop novel genetic selection methods to optimize and enhance the success of clam breeding in regional aquaculture operations.

Bassem Allam, marinetics endowed professor at SBU, who leads the $1.2 million project, said the funding will allow his team to complete the sequencing of the hard clam genome and develop genomic selection tools to improve clam breeding for aquaculture and restoration activities. 

“We will be able to breed clam stocks that better resist disease and harsh environmental conditions, for the benefit of clam farmers in New York State and throughout the region,” Allam said in a written statement.

New York Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist Antionette Clemetson said that once the project is completed, growers will have access to strains that can tolerate specific barriers in their geographic region to boost production.

“This research will transform the hard clam industry along the entire East Coast and our Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension partners are eager to transfer this knowledge to the industry and managers in future years,” Clemetson said in the statement.

New York Sea Grant, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

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