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White Abalone, What Turns You On?

August 10, 2015

To save endangered white abalone, scientists are working to breed them in captivity. But first they have to figure out how to turn on white abalone.


Imagine New England without lobster, or the Chesapeake Bay without blue crabs. Well, in California, abalone is an iconic local seafood. Unfortunately, this tasty mollusk has become scarce, mainly due to past decades of overfishing. The most prized of the abalones, the white abalone, is listed as endangered, and scientists from NOAA Fisheries and elsewhere are working to bring them back from the brink.

One of those scientists is Kristin Aquilino, who runs the white abalone captive breeding program at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory in Bodega Bay, California.

In this podcast, Aquilino describes the challenges of getting white abalone to breed in captivity. The biggest challenge: figuring out what turns them on.

In addition to NOAA Fisheries and the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab, partners include Aquarium of the Pacific, Cabrillo Aquarium, Puget Sound Restoration Fund, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, Bay Foundation, SEALab, California Science Center, and Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network.

Last updated by Office of Communications on February 12, 2021