Saving White Abalone with UC Davis Project Scientist Kristin Aquilino
Successful White Abalone Larval Culture at Bodega Marine Laboratory
White Abalone in the Media
Playing matchmaker to save an endangered species, scientists have produced thousands of baby white abalone in laboratory buckets with the aim of placing them back out in the wild. Their tremendous success has given new hope to recovering this tasty marine snail from the brink of extinction.
Video, Print, and Podcasts
On NPR - 7/2022:
Behind this locked door is the white abalone's best chance of avoiding extinction
On NorCal Public Radio - 7/2022:
Nearly extinct white abalone possibly on road to recovery
In the New York Times - 2/2022:
Researchers See ‘Future of an Entire Species’ in Ultrasound Technique
From Sierra Magazine - 5/2021:
Abalone on the Edge
From the San Francisco Chronicle - 4/2021:
Abalone diving is banned, and work goes on to restore the giant sea snail on California's coast
From the Los Angeles Daily News - 2/2021:
11,000 baby abalone will be planted at a secret spot off the Southern California coast
Endangered White Abalone Program Yields Biggest Spawning Success Yet UC Davis News and Information- April 25, 2019 The Bodega Marine Laboratory’s white abalone program has millions of new additions following its most successful spawning ever at the University of California, Davis, facility. Three out of nine recently collected wild white abalone spawned last week, as did seven of 12 captive-bred white abalone.
Bay Area Scientists Saving Abalone From the Future NBC Bay Area- April 26, 2017 Scientists at the Bodega Marine Laboratory suggest that red abalone, a prized seafood delicacy, are most vulnerable to ocean conditions in the first three months of life.
Delicious and Nearly Extinct, Can White Abalone Be Saved? KQED Science- Mar 17, 2017 There are more white abalone living in captivity than there are in the wild, the mollusk in Kristin Aquilino’s hands is the first wild white abalone scientists have collected from the ocean in more than a decade.
Collection of white abalone boosts recovery efforts NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region News- Nov 16, 2016 White abalone are one of eight NOAA Fisheries’ Species in the Spotlight, endangered species at high risk of extinction. NOAA has developed a five-year action plan to help rebuild the species.
FOJBI Friday: Meet Kristin Aquilino, Snatching White Abalone Back From The Brink NPR: Joe's Big Idea- Nov 11, 2016 Good science communication makes the universe smaller and bigger all at once, says marine biologist, Kristin Aquilino. “It makes kids from Iowa – like me – identify with sea snails, and kids from San Francisco value the loess prairie.”
Science Weekly: Saving White Abalone Uplight- Sept 25, 2016 Dr. Kristin Aquilino, project scientist at Bodega Marine Laboratory, has been with UC Davis Marine Lab for 11 years. She explained the challenges wild white abalone face and what the scientists at Bodega Bay are doing to save and repopulate them to a group of environmental journalists visiting the lab in coastal California on Thursday.
Science Weekly: Saving White Abalone KZYX The Ecology Hour – Science Edition- Sept 6, 2016 “Their goal is to produce captive-bred animals that will be used to establish a self-sustaining white abalone population in the wild. Turns out, it’s not that easy!"
The decline and hopeful resurgence of Southern California’s abalone population Daily Breeze- Aug 28, 2016 “It’s an economic, political, conservation, research and a cultural issue,” said Tom Ford, executive director of the Bay Foundation.
NOAA Scientists Search for Endangered White Abalone NOAA Fisheries- Aug 1, 2016 NOAA scientists employ remote technology in their search for white abalone, believed to be near extinction. A few thousand animals are thought to remain off Southern California.
White abalone is on the brink of extinction... Thank You Ocean Report- May 2016
White abalone is on the brink of extinction — but what does breeding have to do with it? Our guest is Kristin Aquilino, Manager, White Abalone Captive Breeding Program, UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory. She introduces us to the unique white abalone, their plight, and how her team is working to reverse the situation. You’ll see how captive breeding is succeeding and what you can do to help.
White abalone were nearly eaten out of existence in the 1970s. Now, a breeding program aims to revive them The Orange County Register- May 29, 2016 Fewer than 1,000 of these slow-moving, cream-colored sea snails still live in the open ocean, according to one estimate, and they’re spaced so far apart from one another that they can’t reproduce on their own. Without human help, the mollusc – nearly eaten out of existence when white abalone was a staple at seafood restaurants in the 1970s – will vanish.
Our Ocean Backyard: Can an endangered abalone be saved? Santa Cruz Sentinel- May 21, 2016 There are seven species of abalone living along the west coast of which two, black abalone and white abalone, are listed as endangered. Scientists believe that white abalone is in the most trouble and are making a serious effort to revive its population.
Earth Day: 10 Animals UC Davis Is Working To Save Buzzfeed - April 21, 2016 UC Davis scientists don’t just study animals. Often, they save them.
Restoring White Abalone: from the lab to the wild Ocean Currents Podcast- April 4, 2016 White abalone were once prolific in southern CA waters, but over harvesting, reproductive failure and infections have diminished this species to become the first invertebrate to make the endangered species list.
Workshop highlights urgency of abalone recovery efforts NOAA Fisheries- April 2016 Scientists, aquarists, educators, industry, and resource managers convened to explore the future of abalone recover, particularly critically endangered white abalone, to guide future recovery efforts
Chemicals Induce Abalone to Become 'Broadcast Spawners' in Bodega Bay NBC News San Diego- March 14, 2016 In an effort to try and save the world’s diminishing population of critically endangered white abalone, a Bay Area laboratory hosted a spawning event — which in a single day potentially bred more white abalone than exist in the ocean.
Keeping endangered abalone alive, 1 fertilized egg at a time San Francisco Chronicle - March 3, 2016 Fifteen years ago, the white abalone was put on the federal endangered species list — the first marine invertebrate to earn that distinction. For the past five years, the scientists in the Bodega Bay lab — a branch of UC Davis — have been collecting, coddling, pampering and spawning a handful of the surviving white abalone.
Saving an Endangered Species: The Battle to Restore White Abalone Populations MARINE Blog - May 3, 2015 MARINE alumnus Ben Walker describes his new journey working with endangered white abalone.
Diving deeper into abalone – dedicated scientists and volunteers on a mission to better understand endangered species NOAA Fisheries - Spring 2015 Dedicated scientists and volunteers are on a mission to better understand the now rare abalone species. They’re diving deeper to recover the listed populations.
The era of abalone-rich waters, retired fishermen recalls collecting daily limit with one dive NOAA Fisheries - Spring 2015 Conservationist Ken Nielson remembers when abalone numbers were so large he could catch his limit with one breath. Ken hopes his great grandchildren will be able to dive for abalone someday.
Bodega Bay lab at forefront of effort to save rare abalone species Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Feb. 20, 2015 The product of a 4-year-old program that began with 18 wild white abalone plucked from the ocean depths near the Channel Islands 15 years ago, these small shellfish — from pencil-point- to almond-sized — are proof that captive breeding can work.
Bodega Marine Lab Successfully Breeds Endangered Abalone NBC Bay Area News - Feb. 3, 2015 From the initial dozen brood stock, the group successfully bred 120 white abalone by 2013 and thousands more a year later.
Spawning success for white abalone UC Davis Egghead Blog: About Research at UC Davis - Jan. 29, 2015 Efforts to bring populations of endangered white abalone back from the brink of extinction through captive breeding appear to be working, according to scientists at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory.
Partnerships and innovation contributing to recovery of West Coast abalone populations NOAA Fisheries - Jan 22, 2015 To rebuild abalone populations, NOAA Fisheries is tapping partnerships and innovative restoration techniques to swing the pendulum toward recovery.
White Abalone by Kristin Aquilino CDFW - July 22, 2014 Dr. Aquilino will discuss overcoming challenges in broodstock reproductive conditioning and increasing the survival of newly settled animals, which will help accelerate captive propagation and the recovery of wild white abalone populations.
Saving the Endangered White Abalone: Captive Breeding, Health and Pathology, and Into the Wild One Health UC Davis - Jan 29, 2014 This three part mini-series describes the work required to save endangered white abalone, happening at Bodega Marine Laboratory Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Scientists struggle to bring white abalone back from the brink of extinction, but time is running out. UCSC Science Notes - August 2013 A male white abalone soaks in a bucket of hydrogen peroxide. A fringe of long, thin tentacles peeks out from under his reddish-brown shell. The sea snail plants his muscular foot firmly against the bottom of the tub. Hydrogen peroxide usually puts an abalone in the mood to spawn, coaxing him to shoot sperm through holes in his shell.
New study adds urgency to abalone recovery California SeaGrant News - July 30, 2013 A new study, funded in part by California Sea Grant adds yet more urgency to the scientific community’s belief that the only way to save the white abalone is through captive breeding for eventual release in the wild.
UC Davis Bodega Bay lab plays matchmaker for endangered abalone Sacramento Bee - July 28, 2013 The lighting? It's just right. The temperature? Perfectly set. The music? Barry White, of course. These are the seemingly perfect conditions to save a species, like the white abalone, from extinction.
Endangered white abalone find matchmaker in UC Davis breeding program UC Davis News and Information - July 24, 2013 In research that incorporates food, sex and danger, scientists at the University of California, Davis, Bodega Marine Laboratory recently achieved the first successful captive spawning of the endangered white abalone in nearly a decade.
At a Snail’s Pace UCSC Science Notes - Aug 2013 Scientists struggle to bring white abalone back from the brink of extinction, but time is running out.
Scientists try ‘mood lighting’ and Barry White tunes to entice abalone to reproduce Greenwire (E&E Publishing) - July 26, 2013 A giant abalone so delectable it faces extinction could make a comeback, if researchers can get it in the mood.
Endangered white abalone successfully bred in North Bay lab ABC News 7, KGO-TV (San Francisco) - July 24, 2013 An effort is underway to save an endangered species to the south. It involves bringing the creature to the North Bay.
Endangered white abalone find matchmaker in UC Davis breeding program UC Davis News - July 24, 2013
Let’s Get It On: Marine Biologists Struggle to Get White Abalone in the Mood Santa Barbara Independent - April 4, 2013 Humans are now trying to return the favor by getting the fleshy mollusk “in the mood” by placing them in scientifically induced love nests engineered by marine biologists with the UC Davis Bodega Bay abalone restoration project.
Abalone Amore Los Angeles Times - Oct 1, 2001 Biologists who started a captive breeding program to save the species faced a formidable challenge: how to get the white abalone in the mood.
U.S. to Protect Rare White Abalone Los Angeles Times - May 30, 2001 White abalone, the most succulent and rarest of California’s abalone populations, began receiving federal protection as an endangered species Tuesday.