Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Kayla Hinson, University of Texas El Paso

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

The Bailey Project: New Technologies to Support Shellfish Restoration


Due to the small size of bivalve larvae (<0.3mm), identification may be very tricky if not near impossible. However, based on the current understanding that bivalves build their shells out of calcium carbonate and lay down crystals in species specific patterns, a new technique using polarized light will revolutionize the way bivalve larvae are classified. This technique has shown to be highly accurate using larvae grown under controlled conditions, but previous studies revealed that field conditions increased the margin of error in larval recognition (Thompson 2011). In this present study, the oyster, Crassostrea virginica, will be raised under different conditions such as, temperature, salinities, and food concentration, to test whether growth conditions do in fact affect the accuracy of the polarized light analysis. Our results indicated that when experimental larvae were not included in the training set accuracy decreased drastically, which indicates that growth conditions may in fact alter the results of this technique.