Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Coletti, H., L. Bowen, B. Ballachey, T.L. Wilson, S. Waters, M. Booz, K. Counihan, T. Hollmen, B. Pister. 2021. Gene expression profiles in two razor clam populations: discerning drivers of population status. Life 11:1288. DOI: 10.3390/life11121288


With rapidly changing marine ecosystems, shifts in abundance and distribution are being documented for a variety of intertidal species. We examined two adjacent populations of Pacific razor clams (Siliqua patula) in lower Cook Inlet, Alaska. One population (east) supported a sport and personal use fishery, but this has been closed since 2015 due to declines in abundance, and the second population (west) continues to support commercial and sport fisheries. We used gene expression to investigate potential causes of the east side decline, comparing razor clam physiological responses between east and west Cook Inlet. The target gene profile used was developed for razor clam populations in Alaska based on physiological responses to environmental stressors. In this study, we identified no differences of gene expression between east and west populations, leading to two potential conclusions: (1) differences in factors capable of influencing physiology exist between the east and west and are sufficient to influence razor clam populations but are not detected by the genes in our panel, or (2) physiological processes do not account for the differences in abundance, and other factors such as predation or changes in habitat may be impacting the east Cook Inlet population