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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

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.

Navy and NOAA Fisheries Sign Historic Agreement for White Abalone Recovery
NOAA Fisheries– July 6, 2016
Today, the U.S. Navy signed an agreement with NOAA Fisheries that will provide over $2.1 million in total funding to support core research and survey needs for endangered white abalone at Tanner and Cortes Banks and throughout 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.

Species in the Spotlight: Survive to Thrive
NOAA Species in the Spotlight – Feb 10, 2016
Of all the species NOAA protects under the ESA, we consider eight among the most at risk of extinction in the near future. As a result, we have launched our “Species in the Spotlight: Survive to Thrive” initiative, a concerted agency-wide effort to spotlight and save these highly at-risk species.

White Abalone, What Turns You On?
On the Line, a NOAA Fisheries Podcast – Aug. 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 white abalone on.

White Abalone Placed on NOAA’s Species Spotlight
NOAA Spotlight on Endangered Species – May 14, 2015
NOAA and its partners are supporting a captive breeding program at the University of California, Davis Bodega Marine Lab. After initial setbacks of the breeding program in the early 2000s, the program made great advances in disease research and treatment, resulting in better guidelines for water quality, quarantine protocols, and transfer procedures, more here.

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.

Efforts To Save Endangered White Abalone Paying Off
Capital Public Radio – Feb. 18, 2015
In 2012, scientists at the UC-Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory successfully bred the white abalone in captivity for the first time. That year, researcher Kristin Aquilino says scientists produced 12 animals. Now they’re producing thousands.

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 successfully bred in North Bay lab
ABC News KGO-TV – July 25, 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 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.

Setting the Mood for White Abalone Recovery
American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists Briefs – Fall/Winter 2013

Bodega Bay researchers help endangered abalone breed
Santa Rosa Press Democrat – Aug 8, 2013
The future of an iconic California animal hangs on the fate of a delicate band of survivors in a seawater aquarium in Bodega Bay.

Bringing Back the White Abalone
Capital Public Radio – Aug 5, 2013

Lab plays ‘’ for vanishing abalone
Davis Enterprise – Aug 4, 2013

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.

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.

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.