Saving an endangered species requires many steps and a lot of teamwork.
Population Restoration of Abalone
- We are currently using a non-endangered species, the red abalone (pictured left) to test our methods before we place lab-reared endangered white abalone out into the wild.
- The Bodega Marine Lab in Bodega Bay, CA has mastered the art of captive breeding white abalone, and currently we estimate that more white abalone exist in that facility than exist in the wild.
- So far, we have conducted tests of our methods in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. We hope to outplant white abalone very soon!
Predators are a big barrier to abalone survival
- Before we put any abalone out in the wild, we conduct extensive surveys of the surrounding habitat.
- We pay special attention to their predators, like octopus, lobster, Kellet's whelks, sea stars, cabezon, and sheephead fish.
- We also record potential abalone competitors, like urchins, as well as algae (their food) and habitat complexity (their shelter). If other adult abalone are around, that is a big plus because it means that abalone can successfully survive there, and there are future mating opportunities.