A love potion will save the generation of white abalone

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White abalone was once found in large numbers on the coasts of California and Mexico, the indigenous people of these coasts had been eating abalone for thousands of years before it was marketed, but are now endangered.

The population of this generation is in decline due to declining reproductive rates, overfishing and disease. For this reason, it became the first marine invertebrate to be listed as endangered in 2001.

Scientists are using innovative techniques to protect this species. Scientists took action because no white abalone had been born for about 10 years.

Finally, a group of researchers from the University of California is conducting a new study to save and increase the numbers of these unique sea snails (Haliotis sorensen), which are endangered.

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On the breeding days of these wild sea snails, Kristin Aquilino and her team get up before dawn and collect them from the tanks. All day long, they soak the abalones in a solution they call the “chemical love potion” made from seawater and hydrogen peroxide, and soak them for hours. This provides an aphrodisiac that causes her to release her sperm and eggs.

Kristin Aquilino, Chief Scientist of the White Abalone Breeding Program at the University of California, Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, “The white abalone are on the verge of extinction. They cannot come back without our help.” said.

A love potion will save the generation of white abalone

Photo: Reuters

Aquilino also says that abalone is bad in long distance relationships, they offer them a really romantic solution to release their reproductive cells, they can put them in this love solution and combine them in a lab environment to give birth to offspring. that will end up in nature.

The number of egg-laying of these creatures reached 25,000 in 2019. However, due to the pandemic, there has been a decrease as it was limited to one study for the season. But Aquilino notes that the larvae have the highest survival rates on record.

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A love potion will save the generation of white abalone

Photo: Reuters

If this test fails, the same process will be repeated in the coming weeks. aquilino, “We want to make sure we don’t stress them too much. We hope this break is good for the white abalone and makes them more productive.” said.

Meanwhile, Kristin Aquilino met her husband on a red abalone research dive while she was a graduate student. The engagement ring has an abalone pearl. And their daughter is playing with a fake abalone farm at home. “It has become a very important part of my identity and that of my family,” says Aquilino.

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A love potion will save the generation of white abalone

White abalone generally feed on algae. Their size is between 13 and 20 cm on average, but it can reach 30 cm in different parts of the world. It is called abalone because of its external ear-like appearance. Abalones that live by clinging to rocks have a very thin, oval shaped shell.

Their shells are flat and spiral shaped and have rows of holes on their sides. These holes are respiratory pores so that they can breathe. They cling to rocks and other hard surfaces with their strong, muscular feet, and their oval-shaped shells protect them from predators. The inside of the shell is at least as valuable as the flesh inside because it is covered with mother of pearl. Pearly seashells are used as ornaments and jewelry.

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A love potion will save the generation of white abalone

White abalone move very slowly and live on the bottom. They cling to rocks and other hard surfaces using their muscular feet and are almost impossible to remove when disturbed. Adults become sexually mature in nature in as little as four to six years. They reproduce by releasing their eggs and sperm into the water. Fertilization is most effective when adult male and female abalones spawn and are close to each other, turning into adult larvae when they breed successfully in the wild.

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A love potion will save the generation of white abalone

In the 1970s, the California coast was home to 5,000 white abalone per acre. 20 years later, research has found less than an abalone in the same size area. For this reason, the abalone fishery off the coast of California was closed in 1997.

Although it has been illegal to collect wild abalone in California’s oceans since 1997, the high value and high price of abalone meat has made it a target for poachers.

Archaeologists say the shellfish trade extends across the continent to the Mississippi River and has a history of more than 5,000 years.

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