In mid-May, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) hosted Dr. Mei Lin Neo and Ms. Teresa Tay, marine scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS), for a research study trip to visit and observe how giant clams are cultured in Palau, and to exchange ideas on improving the breeding and rearing techniques.
Dr. Neo has been studying the giant clams at the National Marine Laboratory, St. John’s Island since 2006. Previously she led a major restocking program in Singapore between 2011 and 2018, with the aim to breed and raise baby clams for restocking local reefs. Her current projects focus on improving mariculture techniques via experimental approaches for endangered marine species.
While in Palau, Dr. Neo and Ms. Tay discussed their research with the marine scientists at PICRC, visited various giant clam farms and partner organizations, gave a night lecture to the public, and went SCUBA diving to see wild giant clams.
“In the 1970s, the mariculture of giant clams was pioneered in the Pacific Islands and one of the locations was Palau showing that it really is one of the leaders in giant clam mariculture,” stated Dr. Neo. “It was incredible to see species of giant clams that are critically endangered or locally extinct in Singapore thriving in Palau’s waters.”
PICRC hopes to further exchange ideas with Dr. Neo and her research team as the development into giant clam mariculture in the Palau Aquarium continues.