Home > Explore Projects > Histological Techniques for Marine Bivalve Mollusks and Crustaceans
NCCOS Project

Histological Techniques for Marine Bivalve Mollusks and Crustaceans

This project began in January 2004 and was completed in December 2004

To best manage marine resources such as bivalve mollusks (i.e., clams, oysters) and crustaceans (i.e., crabs), scientists must have access to the tools needed to study the health of these animals and to determine the prevalence and incidences of their diseases and parasites. Histological Techniques for Marine Bivalve Mollusks and Crustaceans standardizes techniques to prepare tissue samples in a consistent manner so that pathologists worldwide can assess the health of these animals.

Why We Care
Knowledge about the health of natural resources such as shellfish is critical to the development of effective management strategies for improving environmental stability, coastal ecosystem health, and sustainable fisheries. The first edition of this manual published in 1983 presented protocols for preparing quality marine invertebrate tissue slides for microscopic examination. Histological Techniques for Marine Bivalve Mollusks and Crustaceans, published in 2004, expands the methods from the first edition by providing pathologists with step by step instructions, high quality photos, diagrams, and special techniques to provide pathologists a more reliable and consistent evaluation of bivalve mollusk and crustacean health. In turn, this information will be conveyed to natural resource managers to best manage shellfish fisheries.

What We Did
This manual was written as a reference guide for histological processing of shellfish, principally bivalve mollusks and crustaceans. However, many of the techniques are useful for fish and other marine species. The manual guides you, the reader, through a thorough explanation of the processes necessary to achieve the end product: a high quality stained slide for examination and interpretation by a pathologist. Special sections have been included to describe safety concerns, handling of live animals, processing and diagnostic instructions, miscellaneous and specialized techniques, and color photos of what the proper finished product should look like. Additionally, specialized techniques for the diagnosis of prominent diseases and parasites are included. Photographs and illustrations are provided for instruction throughout.

Benefits of Our Work
Nearly 1,325 copies of the 2004 edition of Histological Techniques for Marine Bivalve Mollusks and Crustaceanshave been distributed nationally and internationally. The manual is an important reference in aquatic research laboratories, universities, aquaculture centers, and state and federal departments of natural resources. To date, scientists, technicians, teachers, and students from 60 countries have requested and received copies of the manual.

Additional Resources

Click to expand resource list(s).

Explore Similar Projects
No posts found.


NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter or view our archives.

Follow us on Social

Listen to our Podcast

Check our our new podcast "Coastal Conversations"