- Project Dates: From May 2010
- Project Leader: Professor Tony Clare, Dr Nick Aldred, Professor Teresa Cruz
- Staff: Sofia Franco
- Sponsors: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), grant SFRH/BD/63998/2009
Stalked barnacles are commercially important edible barnacle species, with special interest in the percebes (Pollicipes pollicipes). The percebes are considered a delicacy in Portugal and Spain, where consumer prices can be as high as 150 € per kg. The collection of percebes has been historically insufficient to meet the market demand and the over-exploitation of natural stocks has required implementation of severe conservation measures, renewing interest in sustainable alternatives.
The biological and ecological characteristics of percebes make them highly suitable for synthetic culture although much remains unknown regarding optimal culture practices and growth conditions. This project, funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, aims to resolve these issues with a focus on identifying the conditions necessary to promote larval settlement onto convenient artificial substrata. Other phases of production will also be investigated, in order to close the production cycle, optimise larval development and expedite juvenile-adult growth. The ultimate goal is to provide a methodological framework for artificial culture of percebes, providing a basis for commercial aquaculture, sustainable commercial exploitation and conservation of the natural populations.