Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Richard Burroughs


Selective breeding is a common practice within oyster aquaculture and is used to improve growth rates as well as reduce the negative impacts of water temperature rise, ocean acidification and disease among oysters. What is lesser understood is the public perception of the use of selective breeding in oyster aquaculture. A total of 81 Rhode Island residents responded online concerning how they perceived selective breeding in Rhode Island as well as what types of oysters they preferred. Multiple 5-point Likert scale questions and discrete choice experiments were used to better understand these perceptions. A majority of those who responded view selective breeding as positive for Aquaculture, Coastal Waters, Public Health and the Economy in Rhode Island. When given a choice of a selectively bred oyster product and a wild strain seed oyster product, respondents choose the less expensive option most of the time. However, when prices were the same, a majority of residents choose the local wild strain oyster product. These findings (coupled with relationships between perception and preference) suggest that price is the dominating factor in consumers decision making. Increasing outreach programs to educate the public on the benefits of selective breeding as well as making sure all product is priced competitively can ensure success for the industry.



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