Black oyster of sweet water

Black oyster of sweet water

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I have seen recently a documentary starting with introducing of the spectacular black oyster of sweet waters which imitate exactly like a prey fish in order to convey its eggs to predator fish's gills, while it had no eyes to see the form of prey fish favored by the predator fish.

The amazingness of what this creature do provokes me to ask some questions about this strange creature and know more about this odd phenomena and theories represented for evolving of such marvelous creature.

How the black oyster detect completely kind of prey fish which is favourite food of target predator fish ,and make a very detailed simillar image of it in order to deceive the target fish while it has no eyes to see?

I believe you're talking of the members of the families Unionidae and Margaritiferidae, which have a larval stage called glochidium. From the Wikipedia page linked here:

This larva form has hooks, which enable it to attach itself to fish (for example to the gills of a fish host species) for a period before it detaches and falls to the substrate and takes on the typical form of a juvenile mussel. Since a fish is active and free-swimming, this process helps distribute the mussel species to potential areas of habitat that it could not reach any other way.

This interesting study about phylogeny of these species shows that lures mimics mainly fish, but also different prey species such as insect larvae. Some species display an aspecific lure, while others show fine mimicking in order to attract a precise set of host fish species.

As to how luring evolved:

What drives the evolution of luring? Very little is known about what drives the evolution and diversification of luring, which has evolved independently multiple times. In Lampsilini mussels, luring appears to have arisen early, and the complexity of the lure has increased through the lineage. It is likely that diverse selection pressures govern the evolution of luring. One hypothesis is that luring increases the rate of prey encounter without incurring the metabolic costs associated with active search and pursuit. Alternatively, luring may present predators with an opportunity to exert control over a prey's movement, reducing the risk of injury when hunting. Luring systems present a unique opportunity to understand signal design and evolution.

Do oysters need to see in order to evolve the lure?

No. Evolution of a body part does not require sight or will. From this blog post:

Note that [… ] the mussel can't see the fish it's parasitizing. In this case natural selection is literally blind. Those mutations in the mussel that make its brood pouch look more fishlike will give it a reproductive advantage over its confrères, even if it can't see the fish it's deceiving. Note as well that selection has “acted” (I'm anthropomorphizing here: selection doesn't really “act”, for it's not an external force but a process of gene sorting) not just on the appearance of the mussel, but on its behavior. It has genes that make it wiggle its brood pouch in a fishlike manner.

The mechanism is all here:

  • 1st step: mutations that modify the coupling of fish bites and glochidia release/mantle shape/the movement of the mantle arise.

  • 2nd step: The bearers of favourable mutations will have more progeny and the population will have more and more bearers as generations pass.

No need of being conscious about anything. :)

Black Grouper

Grouper is considered a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. The fish has firm, lean flesh and a mild flavor. Grouper is available year-round with peak catches in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico occurring during the summer and fall. Grouper is sold fresh and frozen as whole fish, fillets, and steaks. It is sometimes sold as “sea bass,” “mero” or the Hawaiian name “hapu’u”.

Harvest Methods

Product Forms




Health & Nutrition

Nutrition facts

Recommended Servings per Month

Cooking Methods

All the Oysters- What's What, Where They're From, and How They Taste

The folks at Fortune Fish & Gourmet have compiled a fairly comprehensive list of oyster type descriptions.

The Oyster Guide

Pacific Oysters
There are an infinite number of names and harvest locations for these oysters. They are all the same species with only two exceptions. The species that are cultured on the west coast are:

Crassostrea gigas - Originated from Japan.
Crassostrea sikameo –Kumamoto, really a sub species of gigas.
Ostrea lurida - Olympia. The gigas is a pacific oyster indigenous to Japan that is widely grown in California and the Pacific Northwest. Different names are used to describe where the oysters were harvested. Generally it is a bay, beach, island or canal.
The Kumamoto is a sub species of the gigas and is raised from British Columbia to Mexico. Most oyster connoisseurs recognize the Washington and Oregon Kumamoto as the true Kumamoto. The Kumamotos from this area tend to be the smaller, sweeter variety that is familiar to most people. The California Kumamoto is also nice but is a bit larger in size. Technically the California Kumamoto is a hybrid between a gigas and a Kumamoto. The mortality rate of the seed/spat of a Kumamoto is very high, thus yields in the oyster beds are never as high as the grower would like. Therefore, they tend to be less available and more expensive. This may be one of the reasons that the hybrid Kumamoto was developed, to have a stronger oyster that survived better and could be produced in a larger quantities.
All but one west coast oyster falls into the first category of gigas. The exception is the Olympia. The Olympia is the only indigenous oyster to the west coast. These are also hard to find due to small production.
For the most part the west coast oyster is in season late September through mid-June. The seasonality varies depending on weather conditions.

Blashke Island - Grown in the Clarence Strait in Alaska. These oysters have a colorful fluted but not fragile shell. The meats are full, sweet and lightly salty.

Chef Creek - Grown in deep bay waters in Baynes Sound, British Columbia. They are grown in a completely submerged environment and consequently, they have a shorter shelf life. The meat is very plump and the flavor is mildly salty with a sweet, melonesque aftertaste. Known for their pretty, fluted shell and golden mantle.

Coromandel - This species is not native to New Zealand. It was probably accidentally introduced through traveling ships. It is the most widely farmed oyster and is now cultivated in New Zealand. The flesh is lighter colored with a black mantle (edge). It is sweet and salty with a pronounced watermelon like aftertaste.

Cortes Island - Grown on northern Cortes Island British Columbia. It is harvested from inter-tidal waters. It has a briny, full flavored finish, described best as salty and sweet with a fruity finish. The shell is smooth with a full cup.

Dabob Bay - These oysters are harvested from Dabob Bay, Washington. They are delicate in texture, briny, yet sweet in flavor finishing with a fresh fruitfulness. Harvested at a young age, you’ll enjoy the ocean freshness.

Deer Creek - A smaller oyster perfect for the beginner oyster eater. This oyster is grown on the cobble beaches of the Puget Sound. Harvested at approximately 2 yrs of age this oyster has a fresh, briny and crisp flavor. The cup is round and
deep and flush with meat.

Denman Island - Grown on the Beaches of Denman Island, British Columbia. This is a hearty oyster with a thick, hard shell. Fresh watermelon flavor exudes in addition to the cold-water saltiness, crunchy texture and sweet, full meat.

Emerald Cove - These oysters are grown in the rich waters off of Denman Island, British Columbia. The meat is full and plump with a mild, sweet and mellow finish.

Evening Cove - This oyster is beach cultured on the east side of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This makes a beautiful plate presentation due to its artful fluted shell. This visual wonder is a clean, smooth oyster with a fresh briny finish.

Fanny Bay - These oysters are grown in Fanny Bay on the East coast of Vancouver Island in Baynes Sound. This oyster is started using a suspension method and then transferred to the inter-tidal for hardening, and beach-cultured. They are salty, yet sweet with a firm, plump flesh with a dark mantle. Their thick shells make for easy opening.

Gold Creek - This oyster is grown on the rocky beaches of the southern end of the Puget Sound of Washington State. The inter-tidal habitat is perfect for faster growth and a hardened shell perfect for shucking. The name is derived from the location that boasts the rich history of oyster farming dating back to the gold rush days. Crisp and briny, a real Puget Sound dandy.

Golden Mantle - These oysters are tray raised in the pristine waters of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, just north of the Powell River. The shell is deeply cupped with a golden hue and the meat is full with a noticeably sweet, melon like finish.

Hunter Point - This Pacific oyster is grown on the beaches of the inlets in the clean watershed of the Olympic Mountain Range. This is a full meat oyster with a firm texture and briny finish.

Imperial Eagle - This oyster is grown on the isolated beaches of the Imperial Eagle Channel of Barclay Sound, British Columbia. It has a harder shell that is colorful and the meat is saltier than most west coast oysters, however, it has a delightful watermelon-rind, fresh cucumber finish.

Kumamoto - This is a small oyster with a very deep cup. The shell is rounder than it is long. The meat may have a slight green or pink hue with a dark mantle. It has a smooth buttery texture and abundant slightly salty, fruity flavor. They are raised anywhere from British Columbia to Mexico.

Kusshi - This small deeply cupped oyster is grown to mimic the outstanding characteristics of the Kumamoto Oyster although they are tray grown in the rich waters off of Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada. They are tray raised, but tumbled regularly to take the length out of the growth, causing the oyster to grow deeper in profile. This effort creates a deep cupped, meaty little oyster.

Malaspina - A firm oyster that is very salty and mildly sweet. It has a very pronounced cucumber finish. The shell is thick with a deep cup. British Columbia is its home.

Mirada - This oyster is grown in Southern Hood Canal on pristine beaches. It has a thick shell and a sweet finish. A nice, medium sized oyster.

Miyagi - This oyster is beach farm raised at the foot of the Olympic Mountain range along the shores of Washington State's southern Puget Sound. They have heavy fluted shells, making them prime for shucking, and the meats are quite nice full and crisp, but not too salty. These are also referred to as “Rain Coast” oysters. This oyster has a very light, clean flavor and a kiwi-like finish.

Nootka Sound - This oyster is grown on the remote wind swept beaches of northwestern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It has a thicker, fluted shell and the meat is salty, plump and rich.

Olympia - The only indigenous west coast oyster, now grown in the Pacific Northwest. The smallest commercially grown oyster, with a tiny, round, flat shell. Moderately salty, very robust, complex, metallic, earthy, nutty and sweet.

Otter Cove - These suspension-grown oysters are very visually aesthetic and their clean appearance provides a consistently sweet, briny flavor.

Palela Bay - Harvested from the southernmost parts of the Puget Sound near Hartstene Island. This oyster is larger in size, approx 4”. The flavor is mild and the meat is full. This is perfect for grilling.

Pearl Point - Thick shelled and beach grown, this pacific oyster’s meat is full and crisp with a mildly salty, sweet, cantaloupe finish. It’s a real Pearl that does not get “spawney” in the summer.

Pebble Beach - Beach raised in the southern end of the Hood Canal. This bag-raised oyster is grown in food rich, fast moving waters and is hand harvested. It has a nice fluted, easy to shuck shell, a full briny meat with a pleasantly sweet finish.

Penn Cove Select - Originating where the Samish River meets the northern Puget Sound, these beach-raised oysters are intensively cultured to an extra small half-shell size before being taken to Whidbey Island’s scenic Penn cove in Washington. The meat is firm with a crisp, briny flavor leaving a fresh aftertaste.

Pickering Pass - This oyster is bag cultivated and beach hardened in the Pristing waters of Pickering Passage in the South Puget Sound Region. The oyster is grown to the size of 4 inches long with a deep fluted, ridged cup lending ideally to a flavorful half-shell oyster.

Quilcene - This oyster has firm, crisp meat with a briny and sweet aftertaste. It has a colorful, fluted shell. Raised in Discovery Bay, Washington.

Rainier - This large oyster is beach grown on the Puget Sound's southern most beaches in view of majestic Mt. Rainier. This oyster has the same flavor characteristics of our popular half-shell sized Gold Creek Oysters. The meat is full and firm with a briny, sea fresh taste.

Sisters Point - Beach grown in Hood Canal, Washington. They are thick-shelled oyster raised in a small family-run operation. The deep cup produces a delightful firm, meaty textured oyster with a cucumber, briny finish.

Skookum - Grown in the heart of oyster country, down in Little Skookum inlet or Totten inlet. These oysters are rack and bag grown to start and finished on beaches to harden the shell. Very sweet, slightly briny and fruity.

Snow Creek - This oyster has a firm, plump meat with a briny and sweet aftertaste. They vary in size depending on the time of year. Raised in Discovery Bay, Washington.

Stellar Bay - A perfectly shaped tray raised Pacific oyster from the cold waters of Baynes Sound in British Columbia. This oyster has an appearance of a tray-raised oyster without the frilly edges. It also has a nice deep cup, full meat with a mildly sea sweet, crisp texture.

Stranges Bay - A beach grown farmed oyster originating in Stranges Bay off the west coast of Cortes Island. Characterized by its green, hard shell and meaty texture with a fruity finish. Available September through June.

Sun Hollow - The Sun Hollow oyster is bag cultured in Puget Sound, more specifically, in the tidal zones of beaches of Lower Hood Canal. The beach grow out produces a thick shell, and a strong adductor muscle. The thick shell prevents splintering during shucking, and the strong adductor keeps the valves shut and the liquor intact. The Sun Hollow possesses a medium to high salinity and a sweet finish.

Sunset Beach - This oyster is beach raised in South Hood Canal, Washington. This is a hearty oyster, medium in size with a full, mildly briny meat. -This delicious oyster is grown via a suspended tray system, Grown in Netarts Bay Oregon, The nice light shell and clean , crisp oyster meat makes this oyster a one of a kind, they are nice and meaty and do not get “spawney” in the summer.

Thorndyke Bay - This oyster is grown on the beaches of Thorndyke Bay, Northern Hood Canal, Washington. This oyster is smaller, however, the meat is firm and full with plenty of shell liquor. The flavor is balanced, not too salty, just right.

Totem Point - This oyster is the larger version of the Whitney Point oyster. It is grown in the Quilcene Bay of Washington and has a perfect flavorful blend of sweetness and saltiness.

Viking Bay - A bag cultured, beach hardened oyster. Grown off the west coast of Cuadra Island in British Columbia. This oyster has white meat with a mild, sweet flavor. Available September through June.

Whitney point - this beach grown oyster is easy to shuck due to its hard, colorful shell with firm, full, sweet and salty meat.

Wildcat - These are great beach raised, near the big bend of the Hood Canal in Washington State. This oyster has a clean, deep, cupped shell, while the meat on the inside has a light salinity and is crisp.

Willapa Bay - These oysters are beach grown on the Pacific shores of Washington State. The shell is colorful and clean. The meat is full and firm with the perfect blend of sweet and salty. This oyster shucks well due to the hard shell.

East Coast Oysters
There are an equally infinite number of names and harvest locations for these East Coast oysters. Even though the majority of oysters on the Atlantic Coast are crassostrea Virginica they vary quite a bit in looks and flavor. The other species is the ostrea Edulis. This is a European oyster now cultured in New England and the Pacific Northwest. It is best known as the Belon oyster.

Alpine Bay - Harvested in Prince Edward Island, Canada by hand. These oysters have a smooth, copper colored shell with a deep cup, a crunchy bite and a clean aftertaste.

BeauSoleil - Cultivated in the chilly North Atlantic waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in New Brunswick, Canada these oysters are cultured close to the water surface in floating bags. Grown in sparsely populated coastal areas, these oysters have the benefit of almost complete isolation. These small to medium sized oysters are mildly briny with a clean refined finish.

Belon - Also known as the European Flat. Technically the name “Belon” refers to oysters grown in Brittany, France. It has a craggy, round, shallow shell. This oyster is characterized by an intense flavor that is both sweet and salty, metallic with a strong finish.

Blackberry Point - These oysters are deep cupped and well defined with a greenish hue. The meats are full with a mildly salty flavor and a sweet clean finish. They are grown in Foxley River, Northwestern Prince, Edward Island Canada. They are essentially a Large Conway cup they are available only through February and march. These oysters are about 3 1𔊪 in to 4 1𔊪 in.

Bluepoint - This is a mild Atlantic oyster. “Bluepoint” is often used to describe any mild oyster from the East Coast. The original Bluepoint was from Long Island Sound. Today, a lot of oysters out of Connecticut are also called Bluepoints. The quality and look are the same. These used to be inexpensive and readily available however now they are pricey and limited in quantity as any specialty oyster.

Bras D’or - These oysters are harvested from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Grown wild these oysters have flatter bodies with curved shells and deep cups. They are very briny as are most northern Canadian oysters.

Buzzards Bay - Harvested from Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. A uniform shaped shell with a small to medium sized, crisp, briny oyster.

Cape Breton - These oysters originate from the Bra D’or Lakes in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. These large lakes are connected to the ocean thus this oyster tends to be somewhat briny with a smooth finish. These are very similar to the Bras D’or.

Cape Neddick - These have a plump, full, round to oblong shell. The shell is very thick and the meat is mildly salty with a light mantle. Connecticut harvested, excellent quality oyster that is substantial in size. Could also be called large.

Caraquet - Harvested from New Brunswick, Canada. These oysters come in several sizes we buy the small and the medium. They are oblong in shape and the shell is a light brown marbled with white. The meat is full and the flavor is sweet and salty. They may not be big but they pack a punch!

Cavendish Cups – Sourced from the Northwestern Prince Edward Island. Graded as a large oyster, provides an unparalleled level of consistency and quality. Meats are full and firm, with a strong briny flavor profile.

Chedabucto Bay - Harvested from the pristine waters of Nova Scotia’s beautiful Bras D’or Lakes, Canada’s inland sea. There is a distinctive salty taste to this area, so the oysters have a nice briny kick to them. These are similar to Cape Breton and Bras D’or.

Chesapeake Bay - Harvest in Martha’s Vineyard, MA. This oyster is first-rate oyster that is firm in texture and has the right balance of salinity.

Chilmark/Martha’s Vineyard - A briny crisp oyster with a delicate and sweet aftertaste. There are two areas of harvest- Tisbury Pond and Edgartown Pond. The Edgartown area is the first to open with Tisbury to follow. A briny, crisp oyster with a delicate and sweet aftertaste. Harvested Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Colville Bay - These oysters are farmed by hand in a remote region of Eastern Prince Edward Island and have a distinctive green shell. They have an exceptionally sweet taste and a fruity melon finish.

Conway Cup - These oysters are deep cupped and well defined with a pastel greenish hue. The meats are full with a mildly salty flavor and a sweet clean finish. They are grown in Cascumpeque Bay, Foxley River, Prince Edward Island Canada.

Cooke’s Cocktail -This is a true Malpeque oyster that starts with a subtle brininess and has a clean, fruity finish. Judged the world’s best oyster at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, France. Thought to be the very essence of what an oyster should be.

Delaware Bay - Delaware Bay produces oysters with two distinct flavors, one form inner bay and other from Cape Shore. The Cape Shore oysters are briny, with a sweet, nutty astringency while the inner bay oysters have milder flavor, both with plump firm meat.

East Beach – Sourced through Charlestown Salt Pond, located in southeastern Rhode Island. Their meats are best characterized as having a high salinity and firm texture.

Fisher Island - Named for the small island located in the Block Island Sound, off the coast of Eastern Connecticut, these oysters are carefully selected for several desirable characteristics. These include firm, sweet meats with excellent brine content, due to the cool high salinity of these pristine oceanic waters, and exceptionally deep cups and clean shells.

Glidden Point/Pemaquid - A deep-water oyster that has a light colored mantle and light colored meat. This oyster has a thick shell with meaty, firm, salty meat. Harvested at Glidden Point, Pemaquid River, Maine.

Hurricane Harbor - This oyster is hand harvested from Northumberland Strait and is small to medium in size with a tan/greenish color shell. They have a firm, crisp salty meat with a sweet finish.

Indian Point - A wild, hand-harvested, cold water oyster with a chestnut brown shell. Their fluted, firm shell makes it a pleasure to open, yielding crisp, slightly briny meat, finishing with a subtle, slightly sweet sea flavor. Harvested in Prince Edward Island.

Island Creek - This oyster has a crisp texture and a high salt content with a subtle finish. They are medium in size with plump meat. These oysters are harvested from Hunts Flats, Duxbury Harbor, Massachusetts.

Jules Island - Similar to the Island Creek oyster. It has a crisp texture with a high salt content. Harvested from Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts.

La St. Simon - A very unique oyster crafted in the Shippagan region of New Brunswick, Canada. Sweet and buttery, the delicate flavor leaves you with a lightly salty feeling and the finish is a unique fusion of both citric and sweet flavors.

Lady Chatterly - Grown out in the pristine waters of Nova Scotia are marked by excellent cup definition, and thick, chip-resistant shells. The flavor is overtly briny and very comparable to the ever-popular, Tatamagouche.

Malpeque - This oyster has become as familiar to many oyster eaters as the Bluepoint. This oyster comes in a variety of sizes but the flavor is the same. It has a slightly bitter, lettuce like flavor, clean aftertaste and firm juicy texture. Harvested from Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Martha’s Vineyard - Wild harvested from saltwater ponds which are open to the Atlantic Ocean, each oyster has a wonderfully classic oyster shape. With an emerald green shell, that when shucked presents beautifully on the half-shell, each firm plump meat is crisp and moderately salty.

Moonstone - This oyster has a rich, briny flavor. The oysters are very uniform in size and are power washed to strengthen and clean the shells. These oysters are cultured by rack and bag method in Point Judith Pond, Rhode Island.

Muscongus Bay - These cultured oysters are raised from spat at the Muscongus Bay Aquaculture farm. The oysters are harvested by dragging and then carefully graded by hand. Their deep cup, large shell is white and beautiful and is easy to shuck. The meat has a medium high salinity and a mild metallic finish. The oysters are purged for a minimum of 2 days to assure a very clean oyster.

Mystic - These lovely oysters are grown in Fisher Island off the Connecticut coast. Cultivated to be almost round in appearance, they have strong, aesthetically well-cupped shells. The flavor is balanced with a delicate salt content and sweet, lingering liquor. Very appealing to all of the senses with a rich and creamy finish.

Nasketucket - These oysters are grown in Nasketucket Bay in New Bedford, Massachusetts in the suspended floating cage method. They are grown for 2 years to reach their 3 inch size. Their light colored, uniform shell houses a flavorful, yet salty beauty.

Ninigret Cup - Our Ninigret Cup oysters are a terrific variety offering both consistency of size and shape as well as year round availability. Grown in the brackish waters of Ninigret Salt Pond in Charlestown, Rhode Island these oysters possess a complex buttery and nutty flavor with a pleasing briny finish.

North Haven - This oyster is sourced through a family fishery located on North Haven Island, Maine The North Haven oysters are available 12 months a year, but are recommended late fall trough early summer. Size wise, the North Havens are approximately three to four inches in diameter. Shell shape is typically round, with a well-defined cup. Salinity is constant and high during the winter months however, in the summer there will be some fluctuation in the salinity dependent on the quantity of rainfall the island receives. These oysters are exclusively diver harvested in order to promote sustainability and the highest level of quality control.

North Point - This oyster has a clean, crisp, salty flavor. It is harvested from the icy cold waters of Northern Prince Edward Island.

Old Salts - This oyster is aqua cultured in Chincoteague, VA. The truest taste of the ocean! It has bold sea-side brininess with a sweet, clean finish.

Pemaquid - Also known as Glidden Point, this thick shelled oyster is meaty, firm and salty. The flavor is sweet and mildly salty with an almond-like finish.

Portage Island – These oysters possess a terrific shape, and a consistency outstanding meat- yield that can hardly be contained by their shells. They are medium to medium- high salinity. Harvested in Acadian Peninsula, New Brunswick.

Potter Moon - These oysters are grown in Potters Pond, Matunuck, Rhode Island. The meat is plump and has a strong briny flavor with a sweet finish.

Prudence Island - Farm raised in the nutrient rich waters of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. These oysters are cultured to produce an oyster with a deep cup and tough shells. They have plump meats and a clean briny finish.

Rappahannock - These oysters are aqua cultured in Wake, VA. Deep cupped and mineral rich, with an understated saltiness that lets the oyster’s natural flavor come through. They have a sweet, buttery, full bodied taste with a refreshingly clean, crisp finish.

Raspberry Point - These oysters are grown in cages on the bottom of the pristine waters of Raspberry Point in Prince Edward Island. The growth cycle is 6 1𔊪 years to cultivate this nicely salted, crisp meat that finishes clean.

Revel’s Island - These oysters are ocean grown on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. They are a unique blend of bold salt flavors with delicate mineral hints, deep well formed cup bursting with firm plump white meats.

Rome Point - This is a wonderful oyster grown in Narragansett Bay. Well known for the salty ocean flavor and buttery aftertaste.

Saddle Rock - Another Long Island Sound, NY oyster. This beauty is moderately salty with a clean taste of the ocean. The “benchmark” by which all Bluepoints are judged!

Salute - A small to medium deep cupped oyster from Prince Edward Island. Rounder in shape than a Malpeque, briny, sweet, plump.

Salvation Cove - Harvested in Prince Edward Island. Good quality and salinity.

Snow Hill - These bold, briny oysters are raised in Chincoteague Bay, Maryland. Their unique flavor is a balance of cool ocean salt and freshwater sweetness that imparts the flavor of the sea without the “smack” of salt. The yeasty sweetness is reminiscent of new Brunswick’s BeauSoleils.

South Hampton - These oysters are grown in the Robin’s Island waters at the eastern tip of Long Island. Aquatrays keep these growing oysters off of the mud bed of the bay and yield a clean, uniform shell and full, bright meat with a silky texture. A delicate sweetness is immediately followed by a strong brininess due to their high salinity.

St. Anne - These are generally larger than most Nova Scotia Oysters. Fairly consistent in size and are packed with flavor. Briny, crisp, clean and crunchy. These oysters have a whiter, smoother, rounder shell.

Stingray - This is the quintessential Chesapeake Bay oyster. Sweet, mildly briny with a clean, crisp finish.

Tatamagouche - A salty and rich tasting oyster from the northern coast of Nova Scotia. Similar to a Chedabucto Bay.

Wallace Bay - This oyster is very similar to Malpeque, it is has a slightly bigger shell and is harvested from Prince Edward Island. Meat is very full, sweet and briny.

Watch Hill - This is a small farm raised oyster from Rhode Island. Very sweet with firm pink meat. It is one of the most flavorful oysters on the market. Rated as one of New England’s finest oysters by Bon Appetite Magazine. They have a pink or purple shell that is flatter, almost like a scallop shell, they look fanlike.

Wellfleet - A medium sized shallow shelled oyster, which is very meaty with clean and crisp taste. They are harvested in Wellfleet Harbor off Cape Cod.

Westport - A crisp, briny tasting, small to medium size oyster in a uniformly shaped shell. Similar to Buzzards Bay.

Wianno - Wianno is a quiet village on the South Shore of Cape Cod named after the local Indian Chief of the Mattacheese tribe. Wianno Oysters are grown in the crystal clear waters of Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound. Always harvested by hand, Wianno Oysters have a pearl white interior shell and a distinctive exterior that denotes a superior quality New England Oyster. These plump, succulent oysters have the distinct sweet and briny “Wellfleet” flavor

Wiley Point - This diver-harvested oyster is farmed in a select sub tidal area of the Damariscotta River in central Maine. Started as hatchery seed, Wiley’s grow into one of the best-tasting and most treasured New England oysters. The meats themselves are large, light in texture, and are of a relatively high salinity with a briny flavor and a finish with a hint of watermelon.

Winter Harbor - Truly a boutique oyster, these aqua cultured oysters are extremely limited in supply due to their short growing season. Each oyster receives close scrutiny from the hatchery to harvest. Cage grown, completely off the bottom, yielding sweet salty meats with a clean, buttery aftertaste.

Winter Point - Our Winter Point oysters are grown in Mill Cove, a clay bottomed inlet located in West Bath, Maine. The Gulf of Maine provides an endless stream of nutrient rich waters to these oysters, which are started in an up dweller, transferred to a bottom-culture rack and tray system, and then finished on the clay sea floor. The Winter Point oysters are premium in every sense of the word, and year round availability makes them something of an anomaly as a Mid-Coast Maine Oyster. Winter Points possess a medium salinity and a slightly sweet flavor.

Tracey Leask

Operations Manager and Master Scuba Diver Trainer

Throw Tracey in a puddle and she’ll be happy! Learning to dive in Canada, Tracey loves anything and everything about diving and the underwater world. She became an instructor in 2014 to be able to teach and dive around the world. Passionate about marine life, if you want to talk about sharks she’ll never stop!

Favourite Dive Destination
Depends on what you like diving for, so I have too many to say! Komodo is an amazing spot for wildlife. What an fabulous experience with loads of different marine animals, from huge manta rays to tiny nudibranch, to fake sea snakes and juvenile sweet lips. Tobermory, Canada is great for wrecks, with it’s cold, fresh water that keeps the boat perfectly in tack. The UK also has some AMAZING wreck and wildlife diving, as close as Brighton! The world is your oyster when it comes to diving.

Favourite Marine Life
Wobbegong sharks, hands down, are absolutely my ultimate fav. However, I also love any type of shark, cuttlefish, bull rays, brain coral, nudibranchs, sea feathers, blue-spotted stingrays… the list goes on and on…

Which countries have you dived in?
I have managed to dive in Canada, Bonaire, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Scotland, England, Maldives and Egypt! With many, many more on the bucket list.

Aqualung Fusion Fit Drysuit, Aqualung Rogue BCD, Apeks MTX-R regulators, RK3 fins.

Diving Qualifications
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, EFR instructor. I can teach the following specialities: Night Diver, Drysuit Diver, Underwater Naturalist, Enriched Air Nitrox, Deep, Wreck, Project Aware, Peak Performance Buoyancy, SMB, and Project Aware Shark Conservation.

Oyster Mushroom Lookalikes

There are several different types of pleurotus or oyster mushrooms. All true oyster mushrooms are edible. So if you mistake one for the other, it’s not a big deal.

However, there are also some lookalikes to avoid.

1) Elm Oyster

One lookalike is the elm oyster. It’s not actually an oyster mushroom at all, but it can be easily misidentified as one.

The easiest way to tell an elm oyster is by looking at its gills. An elm oyster’s gills don’t run down the stem like a true oyster. The gills stop suddenly at the base of the stem.

Elm oysters aren’t poisonous and are actually edible, although most people agree they aren’t as tasty as a real oyster mushroom.

3) Omphalotus nidiformis AKA Ghost Fungus

This oyster lookalike only grows in Australia and Japan. So in North America and Europe you don’t need to worry about them. If you live in one of those countries however, you should familiarize yourself with the differences.

An easy way to tell is because Omphalotus nidiformis is bioluminescent – it glows in the dark! Which is where the mushroom gets its nickname of “ghost fungus”.

3) Omphalotus olearius AKA Jack-O-Lantern Mushroom

This mushroom is commonly known as the jack-o-lantern mushroom. Much like the ghost fungus, it has bioluminescent properties.

This mushroom is found in Europe, and similar Omphalotus mushrooms are also found in California, Mexico, and other parts of North America.

This mushroom is an orange color and will cause severe nausea, cramping, and diarrhea if eaten. For this reason I’d avoid any suspected oyster mushrooms that are orange in color.

4) Clitocybe dealbata AKA Ivory Funnel

This mushroom grows in grassy areas like meadows, but it has gills that resemble an oyster mushroom. So if they were growing near dead logs, you might potentially think they were oysters.

These mushrooms are also nicknamed the sweating mushroom because the toxin called muscarine they contain starts causing sweating, salivation, and tearflow within half an hour of eating the mushroom. This is then followed by abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and even trouble breathing and blurry vision.


Q: Who should I contact for more information about the program?
You should contact Dr. Chris Bonvillain by e-mail or call him at 985.449.7116.

Q: Should I fill out an application for the university and the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Program?
Yes. You must first be accepted by the university before we can accept you into our graduate program. You can easily apply to the university online. For more information read tab below.

Q: Do I need to complete the mentor agreement form in the Department’s application packet?
Yes. A graduate faculty member must agree to be your mentor/major professor for you to be accepted into the program.

Q: Are assistantships available?
Yes, but they are competitive and are typically given to the most qualified students. There are three types of assistantships available, and the stipend level varies. For more information, go to our assistantship tab below.

Q: Is the biology department accredited?
Although we would embrace the challenge of earning accreditation, there is no accrediting agency for biology departments in the United States. The biology department at Nicholls is comprised of a faculty of hard-working professionals renowned for their teaching and research accomplishments, as well as their service to the region, state and nation. As validation of our good work for and with students, we would certainly seek accreditation if it were possible. Despite the fact that there is no accreditation agency specifically for us, you should realize that the entire university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and specialist degree levels.

Q: Do I have to have an undergraduate biology degree from Nicholls to apply for the Master of Science graduate program in your department?
No, and, in fact, the diversity of the students we accept improves the breadth of our program. We can accept students with good recommendations, good GRE scores and good undergraduate grade-point averages from any science curriculum anywhere in the world. Visit our M.S. degree program page for more details.

  • B.S. degree in a life science curriculum
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00
  • Combined GRE (verbal + quantitative) of 300
  • TOEFL score of 550 (PBT)/213 (CBT)/80 (IBT) for international students
  • Graduate faculty member agree to be major professor (agreement form in the departmental application packet)
  • Three letters of recommendation from professionals in the field
  • Cover letter and resume or CV
  • Complete application (online and departmental) to Nicholls State University

The packet will serve as the program and graduate assistantship application. Please send the completed application packet, official GRE scores, all official college transcripts, cover letter, and CV or resume to:

Dr. Christopher Bonvillain
Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences
Nicholls State University
P.O. Box 2021
Thibodaux, LA 70310

When your application is received, you will be notified by e-mail. For more application information, contact Dr. Chris Bonvillain.

The deadline for applying for teaching assistantships starting in the Fall semester is March 26. For assistantships starting in the Spring semester the deadline is October 25. Applications not requesting an assistantship are accepted at any time.

Where will your expedition take you?You can decide.

Our graduate program incorporates flexibility to allow you to tailor the curriculum to your interests and career/research goals.

To earn a M.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology, students must complete a minimum of 17 hours of core courses and 18 hours of committee-approved elective courses, including at least one LUMCON course.

A maximum of six hours of 400-level graduate coursework may count toward course requirements. A maximum of six hours of 500-level geomatics (GEOM) courses may count toward course requirements. All coursework applicable to your degree program must be approved by your thesis research committee.

Course descriptions are listed in the University Catalog.

A maximum of 6 transfer hours may be applied to course requirements after approval by your thesis research committee.

Required core courses (17 hrs)

BIOL 551(3 hrs)Marine and Environmental Biology I (Fall only)
BIOL 552(3 hrs)Marine and Environmental Biology II (Spring only)
BIOL 560(1 hr)Marine and Environ. Biol. Regulation, Law & Policy Workshop (Spring only)
BIOL 571*(2 hr)Industry Internship
BIOL 572*(2 hr)Agency Internship
BIOL 573*(2 hr)Academic / Non-Profit Internship
BIOL 501(1 hr)Graduate Seminar
BIOL 591(6 hrs)Thesis Research (also BIOL 592, 593, 594)
BIOL 599(1 hr)Thesis

*Only one 2 hr. internship is required.

Elective courses (18 hrs)

BIOL 417*(3 hrs)Molecular Ecology (Fall only)
BIOL 430*(3 hrs)Limnology (Spring only)
BIOL 435*(3 hrs)Herpetology (Spring even-years only)
BIOL 473*(3 hrs)Our Changing Coastal Ocean (LUMCON compressed video course)
BIOL 473-4*(3-4 hrs)Other graduate LUMCON summer courses
BIOL 480*(4 hrs)Environmental Biotechnology (Spring only)
BIOL 483*(3 hrs)Marine and Estuarine Biology (Fall only)
BIOL 503(3 hrs)Experimental Design (Fall only)
BIOL 504(3 hrs)Ecological Restoration (Fall only)
BIOL 530(3 hrs)Aquatic Ecology (Spring only)
BIOL 537(3hrs)Applied Ecology (Spring only meets LUMCON requirement )
BIOL 561(3 hrs)Wetland Plant Ecology (Fall only meets LUMCON requirement)
BIOL 566(3 hrs)Population Dynamics (Spring even-years only)
BIOL 567(3 hrs)Marine Conservation and Management (Spring even-years only)
BIOL 568(3 hrs)Professional Scientific Writing (Spring only)
BIOL 570(3 hrs)Special Topics
BIOL 575(3 hrs)Environmental Diagnostics and Biomarkers (Spring even-years only)
BIOL 585(3 hrs)Aquatic Toxicology (Fall only)
CHEM 490*(3 hrs)Special Topics in Chemistry
GEOM 501**(3 hrs)GIS Applications (Summer odd-years only)
GEOM 511**(3 hrs)GPS for Mappers (Summer odd-years only)
GEOM 521**(3 hrs)Remote Sensing (Summer even-years only)
GEOM 531**(3 hrs)GEOM 531 Spatial Databases (Summer even-years only)
MATH 507(3 hrs)Biostatistics (Spring only)

*A maximum of six hours of 400-level graduate coursework may count toward course requirements.
**A maximum of six hours of graduate-level Geomatics may count toward course requirements.

Students are required to compose and defend a committee-approved thesis.

  • As a master’s biology student, your thesis committee will be composed of a thesis adviser and two to four additional committee members. The thesis committee must include at least three individuals with a Ph.D. Non-Ph.D. individuals may serve as a fourth or fifth committee member and are usually experts in your field of study. At least three of the Ph.D. committee members must be from the Nicholls graduate faculty.
  • Download the Thesis Guidelines and Format Instructions 2020 revision

Grades and Time Limit
Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, and only two Cs may count toward the degree. Most students finish this program in two years, although they have up to six years to complete their degree.

Additional policies, forms, guidelines
For more information on graduate studies, visit the Nicholls Office of Graduate Studies Web site.

Check out the diversity of thesis projects our previous graduates have worked on. Electronic copies of current theses are located at the Ellender Library’s Thesis Repository.

Dr. Christopher Bonvillain
Associate Professor
114 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone: 985.449.7116
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Ramaraj Boopathy
Alcee Fortier Distinguished Service Professor
John Brady Sr. & John Brady Jr. Endowed Professor
216 Gouaux Hall
Phone: 985.448.4716
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Timothy Clay
Assistant Professor
315 Gouaux Hall
Phone: 985.448.4714
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Solomon David
Assistant Professor
112 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone: 985.448.4720
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Allyse Ferrara
Distinguished Service Professor,
Jerry Ledet Foundation Endowed Professor of
Environmental Biology
113 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone: 985.448.4736
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Quenton Fontenot
Professor and Department Head
114 Gouaux Hall
Phone: 985.449.7062
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Gary LaFleur Jr.
233 Gouaux Hall
Phone: 985.448.4715
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Giovanna McClenachan
Assistant Professor
159 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone: 985.448.4312
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Rajkumar Nathaniel
222 Gouaux Hall
Phone: 985.448.4684
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Himanshu Raje
Assistant Professor
228 Gouaux Hall
Phone: 985.448.4709
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Justine Whitaker
Assistant Professor
229 Gouaux Hall
Phone: 985.493.2628
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Jonathan Willis
Assistant Professor
157 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone: 985.448.4313
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Enmin Zou
Distinguished Service Professor,
Theodore Shepard Endowed Professor
226 Gouaux Hall
Phone: 985.448.4711
E-mail: [email protected]

Check out the wide range of research projects being done by our current graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Lemer Invertebrate Genomics Lab

Research in the Lemer lab focuses on understanding how biodiversity arises and is maintained in marine invertebrates, at the species, population and individual levels, in the context of a changing environment.

Our work primarily focused on diverse mollusc groups, but we also explore the wider realm of marine invertebrates to address our research questions (We even sometimes venture into the vertebrate world!).

​In the Lemer lab we mainly use a combination of field work, experiments in controlled environments, Next Generation Sequencing approaches (RNA-Seq, RAD-Seq, Tag-Seq and Genome sequencing) and bioinformatics to answer questions about population genetics, phylogeny and gene expression in various taxa such as Annelids, Bivalves, Cephalopods and Scleractinian corals.

The Lemer Lab stands for justice and equal treatment of people regardless of race, origin, gender or sexual orientation. As such we promote inclusive, anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-discriminatory practices. The PI is committed to actively work towards advancing women, people of color and pacific islanders in the lab and the classroom with opportunities such as science education, lab experience, conference attendance and outreach. We welcome new students and postdocs who share our values and are passionate about invertebrate evolutionary genomics, contact me: [email protected]

I am part of the NSF funded Guam Ecosystems Collaboratorium. Learn more about what we do here: Postdocs

How to Manage Pests

Wounds where large avocado limbs were pruned have been colonized by a heart rot decay fungus.

Several fungal diseases, sometimes called heart rots, sap rots, or canker rots, decay wood in tree trunks and limbs. Under conditions favoring growth of specific rot fungi, extensive portions of the wood of living trees can decay in a relatively short time (i.e., months to years). Decay fungi reduce wood strength and may kill storage and conductive tissues in the sapwood. While most species of woody plants are subject to trunk and limb decay, older and weaker trees are most susceptible.


Decay fungi destroy cell wall components including cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, that make up the woody portion of a tree. Depending on the organism, decay fungi can destroy the living (sapwood) or the central core (heartwood) part of the tree. Decay isn't always visible on the outside of the tree, except where the bark has been cut or injured, when a cavity is present, or when rot fungi produce reproductive structures.

Wood decay can make trees hazardous, as infected trunks and limbs become unable to support their own weight and fall, especially when stressed by wind, heavy rain, or other conditions. Decay can also be hidden, affecting wood strength without any outward sign of its presence. Decay fungi typically reduce the weight of wood by growing through the vascular tissues and degrading some or all major cell wall components and absorbing breakdown products of cellulose or hemicellulose. A 10% loss of wood weight can result in 70 to 90% loss in wood strength. Many branches that fall from trees appear sound, but upon analysis, they were colonized by wood decay organisms.

Table 1 lists several wood decay fungi found on California trees and symptoms and signs commonly associated with each organism.

How to remove a branch or limb

Remove a branch by making the pruning cut just outside the branch bark ridge and branch collar, as indicated by number 3. When removing a limb larger than about 2 inches in diameter, make three cuts in the order indicated. Make the first cut from below, about one-third of the way through the limb and 1 or 2 feet from the trunk. Make the second cut about 2 inches beyond the first cut, cutting from above until the limb drops. Make the final cut at number 3.


Many wood decay fungi can be identified by the distinctive shape, color, and texture of the fruiting bodies they form on trees. These fruiting bodies take several forms, depending upon the fungus that produces them, but most of them fit into categories commonly referred to as mushrooms, brackets or conks. They often grow near wounds in bark, including old pruning wounds, at branch scars, in proximity to the root crown, or near surface anchor roots. Some decay fungi, such as Armillaria mellea, produce fleshy mushrooms at the base of infected trees or along their roots, often after rain in fall or winter. All mushrooms and some bracket fungi are annual (i.e., appearing and disappearing seasonally), but many conks are perennial and grow by adding a new spore-bearing layer (hymenium) each year.

Decay fungi are divided into those that attack heartwood (causing heart rots) and those that attack sapwood (causing sap rots and canker rots). Further subdivision is based on the appearance of the decayed wood (i.e., white rots, brown rots, and soft rots) or location in the tree (the decay is called a butt rot if it is at the base of the trunk). Canker rots usually appear on branches or the trunk. When a fruiting body is visible on a tree, it is usually associated with advanced decay the extent of decay may be far above or below the location of the fruiting body. Trees with extensive sap rot may show symptoms of decline, including increased deadwood and a thinning canopy with reduced density of foliage.

White rots

White rots break down lignin and cellulose, and commonly cause rotted wood to feel moist, soft, spongy, or stringy and appear white or yellow. Mycelia colonize much of the woody tissues. White rots usually form in flowering trees (angiosperms) and less often in conifers (gymnosperms). Fungi that cause white rots also cause the production of zone lines in wood, sometimes called spalted wood. This partially rotted wood is sometimes desirable for woodworking.

Brown Rots

Brown rots primarily decay the cellulose and hemicellulose (carbohydrates) in wood, leaving behind the brownish lignin. Wood affected by brown rot usually is dry, fragile, and readily crumbles into cubes because of longitudinal and transverse cracks occurring which follow cellular lines, or across cells, respectively. The decay commonly forms columns of rot in wood. Brown rots generally occur in conifers as heart rots. Hardwood trees are more resistant to decay by brown rot than to white rot fungi.

Soft Rots

Soft rots are caused by both bacteria and fungi. These organisms break down cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, but only in areas directly adjacent to their growth. Soft rot organisms grow slower than brown or white rot organisms, and therefore damage occurs to the host tree more gradually. Given enough time, however, any rot can cause extensive structural damage.


Most wood decay in limbs and trunks is the result of infection by airborne fungal spores and by spores and mycelial fragments carried by insects to wood exposed by injury. Injuries include natural branch thinning and loss due to shading, pruning wounds, vandalism, and damage from machinery or construction. Other causes of wounds include sunburn, fire, ice, lightning, snow, or insects that bore into the trunk or branches. Some decay organisms can enter through natural openings in the stem such as lenticels or at branch unions. Armillaria mellea and Ganoderma spp. commonly infect woody roots and can spread to nearby trees through root grafting.


Wood decay is usually a disease of old trees. While difficult to manage, several factors can reduce its impact. Protect trees from injuries and provide proper cultural care to keep them vigorous. Prune young trees properly to promote sound structure and minimize the need to remove large limbs from older trees, which creates large wounds. Large wounds provide greater surface area and exposure to heartwood for potential colonization by decay organisms.

Remove dead or diseased limbs. Make pruning cuts properly. Prune just outside the branch bark ridge, leaving a uniform collar of cambial tissue around cuts on the trunk to facilitate wound closure. Avoid leaving stubs (branch protrusions that will eventually die) that provide an infection opportunity due to wound closure failure. Proper pruning cuts are circular, not oval, and not flush to the main stem (which damages the branch bark collar or ridge). Wound dressings are not recommended as they do not hasten wound closure or prevent decay and, in some cases, may hasten the development of decay behind the dressing.

Tree failures can cause personal injury, property damage, or both. Trees near structures or other high-value potential targets should be regularly inspected by a qualified expert for signs of wood decay and other structural weakness. Hazardous trees should be assessed by a qualified arborist who can recommend mitigation, including appropriate pruning or cultural practices. Depending on the extent of decay and the structural weakness, tree removal may be necessary.

One of the most widespread plant pathogens in California. Causes a white butt and root rot. When bark is removed, white or cream-colored mycelial plaques&mdashthe vegetative part of fungi&mdashare present between the bark and wood of roots and trunk near or slightly above the soil line. Mushrooms can form at the base of affected trees following fall and winter rains. Fungi enter susceptible plants by means of dark, rootlike structures called rhizomorphs found on the surface of affected roots. Fungal growth is most rapid under warm and wet conditions decay has been slowed or stopped in some instances by removing soil from around the base of the tree and allowing areas to dry.

Wide variety of landscape and forest trees including acacia, alder, ash, birch, carob, citrus, elm, eucalyptus, fir, magnolia, maple, mulberry, oak, Peruvian pepper tree, pine, poplar, sweet gum, sycamore, tulip tree, and willow.

The fungus invades trees through wounds, kills the sapwood of some species, and causes white rot of the sapwood and heartwood in roots and trunks. Forms semicircular conks that are 2&ndash30 inches wide and 1&ndash8 inches thick. Upper surface of conk is brown, and the lower surface is white, but turns dark when scratched, hence the common name &ldquoartist&rsquos conk.&rdquo Stalks are absent. Fungus can spread through natural root grafting. Conks usually are found near ground level. Columns of decaying wood can extend as far as 15 feet above and below the conk.

The fungus causes a brown heart rot of living trees but also will decay dead trees. It is one of the few brown rot fungi of hardwood trees. It can enter trees through bark wounds and dead branch stubs. This fungus is one of the most serious causes of decay in oaks and eucalyptus, and one of the few fungi that cause decay in yew. The soft, fleshy, moist conks range from 2 inches to over 20 inches wide and are bright orange yellow above and red yellow below. Conks are produced annually and appear singly or in clusters, usually in fall they become hard, brittle, and white with age. Conks do not appear until many years after the onset of decay and indicate extensive internal damage.

This fungus decays heartwood and sapwood, causing a white, flaky rot. Infections occur through open wounds, and decay is most extreme when wounds are large. A cluster of shelf-like mushrooms, each 2&ndash8 inches wide, is produced annually and can indicate localized decay or heart rot that extends 10 feet in either direction. The mushrooms are smooth on the upper surface with gills that characteristically extend down along the stalk on the lower surface.

This fungus commonly is found on cut and fallen wood and on wounded areas of living trees it also is capable of colonizing sapwood of trees and shrubs stressed by water shortage, sunburn, freeze damage, or wounding. The fungus, which causes a white, spongy rot of wood, can actively invade and rapidly kill the cambium (the tissue between the bark and wood), causing cankers with papery bark and dieback. The annual conks are thin, leathery, stalkless, bracketlike, 1&ndash4 inches across, and often found in groups. The upper surface is velvety with concentric zones of various colors, and the lower surface is cream colored and minutely poroid.

American sweetgum, apple, bay tree, birch, elm, cottonwood, locust, lilac, poplar, pear, walnut, oak, sycamore, willow.

Phellinus produce perennial conks with a &ldquohoof&rdquo like appearance&mdashdark and cracked above and tan or ochre below, with small pores. A new hymenium or spore bearing layer is added each year. These are white rotting fungi that are common on various species of hardwoods and softwoods. These cause heart rots on intact trunks.

Biscogniauxia is an Ascomycete fungus that resides in trees as a latent infection not causing symptoms. When trees are stressed by drought, the fungus invades the sapwood, decaying it extensively and cutting water supplies to the canopy. Fruiting bodies are long sheets of charcoal-like stroma that emerge through and from under the bark of affected hardwoods. Conidia proceed the dark charcoal sexual fruiting bodies.

Annulohypoxylon spp. are in the same group as Biscogniauxia but fruiting bodies form on the surface of bark in a concentric- or globe-shaped stroma. They only form on dead wood and indicate that the sap rot fungus has killed that portion of the standing tree. The young fruiting bodies are cream-colored and covered in asexual spores called conidia in early summer or late spring. These later darken into structures that contain the sexual ascospores.


Dreistadt SH, Clark JK, Martin TL, Flint ML. 2016. Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs 3rd Edition. UCANR Publication 3359. Oakland, CA.

Farr DF, Bills GF, Chamuris GP, Rossman AY. 1995. Fungi on plants and plant products in the United States. St. Paul: APS Press.

Loyd AL, Barnes CW, Held BW, Schink MJ, Smith ME, Smith JA, Blanchette RA. 2018. Elucidating &ldquolucidum&rdquo: Distinguishing the diverse laccate Ganoderma species of the United States. PLoS ONE 13(7) (accessed June 24, 2019).

Vasaitis R. 2013. Heart rots, sap rots and soft rots. P Gontheir and R Nicoletti (eds.). Infectious Forest Diseases. CAB International.


Pest Notes: Wood Decay Fungi in Landscape Trees

AUTHORS: A. James Downer, UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura County, and Edward J. Perry, UC Cooperative Extension (retired), Stanislaus County.
EDITOR: B Messenger-Sikes

Produced by University of California Statewide IPM Program

PDF: To display a PDF document, you may need to use a PDF reader.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2019 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Maine: The Damariscotta Oyster Celebration

Mook Sea Farm “OysterGro™” cages on the Damariscotta River, Maine. Paul Shoul photos.

By Paul Shoul

In Damariscotta Maine, oyster growers, foodies, chefs, travelers, and locals gathered in June for three days of total oyster culture immersion at the first ever Damariscotta Oyster Celebration.

Blessed with perfect conditions for producing this marvelous mollusk, the 19-mile long Damariscotta tidal river winds its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Along the river’s journey, millions of plump, juicy oysters are grown on the surface in floating baskets and covering the bottom.

For thousands of years, locals have been gorging on them. 2500-year-old mounds of oyster shells. “Middens” can still be seen along the banks, remnants of the original Abenaki residents. Damariscotta is the Abenaki word for “ river of many fishes.”

Today, Damariscotta is ground zero for a burgeoning commercial oyster/ aquaculture movement that is expanding along the coast of Maine.

Ponder the Oyster

What is it about this little shellfish that takes years to grow and only a second to eat that inspires such devotion?

Damariscotta Oysters on the half shell

Each one is like a Christmas present that must be opened to reveal the gift inside. Almost like gambling they hold the chance of a reward, maybe even a pearl. The ritual of eating them is similar to taking a “hit” of drugs or doing a “shot” of hard alcohol. They conjure sex and desire, imparting mythical stamina and strength to lovers.

Although oysters can be fried, chowdered and Rockefellered, it is in their raw unadorned state that one can appreciate their purest flavor. Like wine, they are wrought from their surroundings.

Merroir, the Taste of Place in the Sea

“Merroir” is the term used to describe the environment or “taste of place” that determines the subtleties of their salty-sweet briny fresh flavor. A single oyster filters up to fifty gallons of water a day.

When you eat an oyster, you are tasting the sea. An oyster is approximately 87% water according to Bill Mook, founder of Mook Sea Farm, one of the oldest and most productive oyster producers in the region.

Bill started oyster farming as a small operation in 1985. His company has since grown to over 25 employees that raise oyster ‘seed’ and ship fresh oysters 52 weeks a year.

In 1998 baby oysters in Bill’s hatchery were all dying from a mysterious cause. Suspicious of a neighbor that had started a Porta Potty business, one night Bill went out to investigate. “ I dressed completely in black head to toe crawling along the shore with a small flashlight.”

It was very James Bond’. “He was dumping 100 yards or so away from our hatchery intake, and we were sucking it in. “It was the earliest life stage (the free-swimming larval stage) that was affected, and it killed every single spawn we attempted “

Bill attributes this event to his continued obsession with keeping the river, and his oysters clean. Climate change is his constant adversary. As the world warms, massive storms result. That means more runoff into the river of silt and farm fertilizers.

“Warming ocean temperatures increase the risks of diseases that kill oysters and elevated levels of bacteria that can make people sick if the oysters are not handled properly during warm weather. Rising ocean acidification makes it difficult for young larval oysters to make their shells.”

Like all the oyster farmers I met, Bill’s knowledge of the environment and activism to clean it up is profound.

Damariscotta, Maine.

Damariscotta is a charming small harbor town popular with tourists but much quieter than nearby Boothbay Harbor that is packed to the gills with kitschy main attractions. It all depends on what you are looking for, but Damariscotta is much more my speed. Cafes and restaurants, small shops and a cozy little walkable main street.

Oyster Chef of the Year Competition

The competition was held at Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Resort. Seven chefs presented on the half shell oyster dishes, each paired with wine from Chemin des Vins.

The Challengers in the Oyster Competition for 2018:

The oysters ranged from “ South in Your Mouth’, Cafe DuMond smoked Pimento Cheese, Florida citrus slaw, Jack Daniels BBQ mignonette, fried sweet onions, fresh dill. Jenny Moore | Chef de Cuisine, Hi-Tide Poke and Raw Bar, Charlotte NC

Pete Smith | Owner of Otter Cove Farms. “Pistols on Horseback” Cornmeal fried oyster wrapped in Jamon Iberico and served atop a squid ink crepe with smoked aioli and pickled ramps. David Siegal | Executive Chef. Pistol Oyster Bar, New York City, NY and Tonie Simmons | Owner of both Dodge Cove Marine Farm and Muscongus Bay Aquaculture.

The winner was “Oyster of the Harbor.” Jalapeno, Rhubarb mignonette, lemon pearls, bacon stock, Osetra caviar, lemon parsley oil, shaved celery, rice puffs. By chef Nathaniel Adams | Executive Sous Chef, Boothbay Harbor Country Club – Paul’s Steakhouse and Grille 19. And Smokey Mckean, Owner of the Pemaquid Oyster Company. Wow.

Tour De Source

On board the small boat “The River Tripper” with Captain Chip, The Tour de Source is a 4-hour cruise through the oyster world. Conveniently, the boat sports an excellent little bar.

“Oyster of the Harbor.” by chef Nathaniel Adams.

The river is pristine. Tides that surge in twice daily create a nutrient-rich, oxygenated mix of salt and fresh waters that oysters love.

Many farmers grow oysters entirely in floating baskets while others grow seed on the surface for the first year and then bottom plant for another 1.5-3 years, scuba diving to harvest by hand. Each farm boasts oysters with a distinct flavor, unique to the microenvironment of its part of the river.

Pulling up to the small floating work platforms of Otter Creek and Cove Farm we watched as they sorted and cleaned harvested oysters, popping open a few for us to try on the spot.

At Mook farm, we toured their floating farm and land-based hatchery. At the Darling Marine Center an extension of Maine University devoted to the study and promotion of aquaculture, we watched multiple presentations on new growing techniques, the history, and biology of the river and by American unagi who are farming feels like those that are so popular grilled and glazed in Japan.

Otter Cove Oyster Farm on the Damariscotta River, Maine.

If you can’t make next year’s oyster celebration,Damariscotta River Cruises offer a variety of seasonal daily oyster farm and seal watching tours as well as wine and sake/oyster pairing

Taste Main Future Dinner:

In the vast Darrows Barn at Round Top Farm in Damariscotta, this four-course dinner offered a bounty of Maine products prepared by local chefs.

There was a shucking station pumping out trays of oysters on the half shell, great wines and local beers and dishes of mackerel, local lamb, pork and scallops.

My favorite was the very inventive Green Crab Rangoon by chef Ali Waks of the Brunswick Inn. European Green crabs are an invasive species. Hordes of them are devouring local shellfish. Clams mussels and oysters are all being preyed upon. The venerable lobster population may be next.

Cold waters once kept Maine safe, but as the climate warms, their numbers are skyrocketing. Served with green crab kimchi, the Rangoon was creamy, flavorful and an excellent way to fight back against the invasion. If you can’t beat them, eat them.

Taste Maine’s future dinner.

Can-Am Shuck Star Competition

At some point during the Can-Am shuck star oyster party, I lost count on how many oysters I had eaten. I knew I was way past 20, but stopping was not an option. Seven local farms set up in a long line of ice filled tables shucking oysters on the half shell as fast as the crowd could eat them.

Can-Am Shuck Star Competition

Shucking fast and clean without stabbing yourself is not easy, and the official competition was intense.
Three competitors shucked one dozen oysters each in a series of heats until a winner emerged.

Judging was as follows: “Judges will add seconds to each contestant’s shucking time according to the following penalty table: An oyster not completely severed from its shell: Add 2 seconds.

An oyster presented on a broken shell: Add 3 seconds. An oyster presented with grit or other foreign substance: Add 3 seconds. Blood in the oyster – from a cut hand – is DQ (disqualification): Add 3 seconds. An oyster not appropriately placed on the shell: Add 5 seconds. A missing oyster: Add 20 seconds.

1st Place ($700) went to James Geoghan of the West Robins Oyster Co., Southampton NY, at a blazing 56.92 seconds.

The Damariscotta Oyster celebration was one of my favorite events for 2018.
2019 promises to be even better.

The 2019 Celebration will be June 13-15th, 2019, and tickets can be purchased now (for this year’s prices) at

A classic Bed and Breakfast. Rooms were spacious, the bed was comfortable, and breakfast was a delight.

Check out my full Russell House review

The Damariscotta River

Watch the video: Sweet - The Ballroom Blitz - Silvester-Tanzparty 197475 OFFICIAL (September 2022).


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