UW News

May 17, 2007

Pacific oyster is subject of talk today

The Pacific oyster — a tasty shellfish that happens to be the most cultivated aquatic animal on the planet — is the subject of the talk, The Top Five Reasons for Loving Bivalves, set for Thursday, May 17.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be at 4 p.m. in 102 Fishery Sciences.

The speaker, University of Sourthern California Professor Dennis Hedgecock, is the first recipient of the UW’s Kenneth K. Chew Visiting Professorship. Chew, a UW alum and then a professor for 42 years, is known for his work on shellfish and for his role developing the Pacific Northwest’s thriving shellfish industry. At his retirement party in 2001, then-Washington Gov. Gary Locke announced the establisment of an endowment in Chew’s name. A campaign then began to solicit contributions to meet the $250,000 needed to endow the professorship.

Chew wanted the professorship to assist the School of Aqatic and Fishery Sciences to attract renowned scholars from around the globe for visits of weeks or months, or even for year-long sabbaticals.

Hedgecock uses genetics to understand Pacific oysters, their cultivation and hybridization, as well as to answer basic questions about natural selection.