Aquaculture research achievements and impacts 2016

By Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior Scientist
Summary of Achievements: In 2016, in collaborations with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Lincoln University of Missouri, the Oregon State University, and several other international institutions, we accomplished goals of ten research studies and projects resulting in several manuscripts being prepared and submitted; published four peer-reviewed journal articles and two proceedings abstracts; received two grants for $670,000; trained three graduate students and post-doctoral fellows; and submitted nine new grant proposals. An international conference on perch and bass was organized. Two books entitled “Sex-Control in Aquaculture” and “Culture and Breeding of Perch and Bass” which are being edited by Dr. Hanping Wang, have made great progress. A fast-growing all-female perch strain and a fast-growing all-male bluegill strain have been developed.
Yellow Perch Breeding: Funded by Ohio Sea Grant, neo-male populations of yellow perch with a female genotype have been created, and a fast-growing all-female strain has been developed by crossing neo-males with regular females for the aquaculture industry. The all-female population should be able to grow 50% faster than unimproved regular mixed populations, and will be available to industry in 2017. A fifth generation of fast-growing lines of yellow perch was created for the aquaculture industry through marker-assisted cohort selection. So far, more than approximately 2,000,000 genetically improved seeds have been distributed to farms for testing and demonstration.
Bluegill Breeding: A technique for producing all-male Bluegill populations has been developed. Testing all-male or near-all-male bluegill populations at two locations is in progress, and preliminary data showed: 1) Weight gain and growth rate of all-male stock were 2.1 times as that of regular Northern and Coppernose stocks; 2) Growth advantage of all-male group starts as early as 5 grams; 3) All-male groups had significantly more uniform size and lower coefficient of variation; and survival of all-male groups was significantly higher than that of mixed sex groups due to the more uniform size.
Temperature effects on sex ratio and sex-determination have been found in bluegill populations. The findings were published in the journals, Aquaculture and The Biological Bulletin. The results from two experiments provide a valuable base for developing all-male broodstocks for bluegill, which could grow 35-50% faster than mixed populations.
Identify the best genetically distinct largemouth bass populations for industry: In 2016, we genotyped 280 additional largemouth bass from 28 wild populations across the United States using eight microsatellite loci, which are standard genetic markers for population genetic analysis. The data are being analyzed together with previous data to confirm the major findings resulting from previous data. The information provides a valuable basis for development of aquaculture genetic breeding programs in largemouth bass. 
An experiment evaluating soybean meal as a protein source for northern and southern largemouth bass was completed. The results indicated that northern subspecies had superior growth compared to Florida subspecies in the current experimental setup. The results provide a valuable base for developing fast-growing largemouth bass broodstocks for the industry.
Genomic sequence and tool development: We have completed whole genome sequencing of yellow perch and bluegill. These are the first Percidae and Centrarchidae (sunfish) that have been fully sequenced. Yellow perch belong to the family Percidae including about 200 species in 10 genera. The perch, darter, and their relatives are in this family and well-known species of great economic value, including the three species of perch, walleye, sauger and ruffe. Knowledge of the whole genome in these two species makes it possible to see how genes interact with each other, and examine the exact gene that governs economically important traits such as fast-growing and disease resistance. The perch and sunfish genome sequence data provide useful genetic resources and lay an important foundation for discovering the molecular mechanism of growth, sex determination and sex control, reproduction related to aquaculture, and conservation of wild stocks for over 100 economically and environmentally important percid and sunfish species. We also completed whole genome sequencing of two strains of bluegill to develop SNPs and investigate the genomic base of sex determination for developing a mono-sex population, and results have been published by the high impact journal, PLOS ONE.
Improvement of perch fry survival rate for industry: Six feeding regimes were tested in 2016. An effective marine rotifer production and feeding system was developed. Effective feeding regimes and protocols were identified for improving survival rate of perch fry. We found mouth gape is the key determinant of larvae survival, which can be selected as a quantitative trait, and concluded that developing yellow perch broodstock with larger mouth gape and larger size of egg, using improved fish to increase indoor survival of larvae and fry is critical to the YP industry development.
Promotion of international training and collaborations: Leading research in aquaculture genetics and breeding at OSU South Centers has produced international impacts and attracted about thirty scientists and international scholars to work in the Aquaculture Research Center and Genetics Lab at Piketon over the past ten years. In 2016, the lab trained three visiting Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers. They also significantly contributed to the aquaculture program’s success at OSU South Centers. In October 2016, we organized an international conference on Perch and Bass in China. We initiated and promoted a partnership between Ohio State University and Huazhong Agricultural University and an MOU between the two universities was signed at OSU in Bricker Hall in May 2016.