Thursday March 28, 2024


Pacific oysters, non-native to the United States but farmed in the U.S. for aquaculture, are an invasive species. During the Pacific Blob heat wave in the mid-2010s, as sea temperatures in Washington state’s Puget Sound rose to 3°C above average, the species proliferated in the wild, and species recruitment for the period 2012–2020 peaked in summer 2015.

In the absence of any studies on effects of this marine heat wave on the populations of Pacific oysters in this area, a research team from the University of Washington, Pacific Lutheran University, and Harbor WildWatch has explored this topic. Their work is published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Pacific oysters (Magallana gigas, formerly Crassostrea gigas) are native to the Pacific coast of Asia. Farming of this species began in 1919 in south Puget Sound and is now substantial across the region. Recently, wild populations have begun to establish in the area, but “we do not yet know how oysters perform outside of aquaculture on rocky shores of south Puget Sound,” the researchers emphasize.

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