Use high throughput DNA sequencing technologies and open source bioinformatics programs to develop genomic resources and tools for the abalone aquaculture community. This includes de novo genome assembly of H. rufescens samples, tissue specific transcriptomes for H. rufescens, comparative genomic analyses with other commercially important green (H. fulgens) and pink (H. corrugata) abalone in California, comparative genomic analyses with the endangered white (H. sorenseni) and black (H. cracherodii) abalone, comparative and translational genomics on the abalone assemblies and a genomic resource toolkit via a website and Genome Browser.
Commercial abalone aquaculture has greatly expanded over the past decade, becoming a thriving global industry valued at over $100 million USD. Abalone is one of the few species where culture production dominates the global market as a result of increasing demand and declining natural stocks from overexploitation and disease. U.S. abalone production is also growing due to high market value and demand. Most farms operating in California utilize three native west coast species: red abalone (Haliotis rufescens), green abalone (H. fulgens), and pink abalone (H. corrugata). These species differ in commercially important traits that are key to culture expansion in California and improved production efficiency (e.g., growth rate, disease resistance, thermal tolerance). Despite previous genetic work, improvement to abalone production is limited by the available genomic data.