Before we grow oysters, we grow algae

It's that time of year again... hatchery season!

The first thing we do in December is get our algal cultures going. A well-balanced diet for baby oysters includes a variety of single-celled phytoplankton. The species shown above was isolated from the waters around Tahiti - well suited to the warm temperatures in our greenhouse. By the end of the month all 40 bags will be full.

  Tahitian Isochrysis.

Tahitian Isochrysis.

We start with sterile test tubes of three species of algae and use those to inoculate larger volume flasks. These flasks are then used to start the bag cultures you see above.