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Principal Investigators: Stephen Bollens
Student: Joanne Breckenridge, Eileen Graham, Carl Wepking.
Funded by:
Award period: 2005-2009

Project Summary:

An increase in burrowing shrimp populations poses an economic threat to the multimillion dollar oyster industry in Willapa Bay (Patten 2003). Carbaryl spraying has been used to control these shrimp but is no longer a viable solution, so new methods need to be sought to control the shrimp. A thorough understanding of burrowing shrimp life-histories may play a critical role in the development of effective pest management strategies. Burrowing shrimp (i.e. Neotrypaea californiensis and Upogebia pugettensis) have life-cycles that include planktonic developmental stages during which larvae spend up to 8 weeks in the water column prior to recruitment to the bottom of the estuary. The recruitment phase may be the single most important life-history stage with regards to management plans (Dumbauld et al. 1996), yet little is known about the critical planktonic period leading up to this event.

Using WSUV’s 24-ft. research vessel, we have been routinely monitoring larval shrimp abundance and associated water quality variables (e.g., temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and zooplankton) at six stations throughout Willapa Bay since September 2005. Our sampling is done in conjunction with on-going monitoring of harmful algal blooms (HABs) by the Washington State Department of Ecology (WA DOE).

The analysis and interpretation of these routine monitoring data on larval shrimp and associated water quality variables will help close critical gaps in our understanding of the distribution, abundance and population dynamics of burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay. In addition, these data will be of broad use to the oyster industry and general public in evaluating the overall health and productivity of Willapa Bay (e.g., harmful algal blooms, food resources for oysters, etc.).

Publications/Presentations resulting from this project:

  • Graham E. S. and S. M. Bollens (2010) Macrozooplankton community dynamics in relation to environmental variables in Willapa Bay, Washington, USA. Estuaries and Coasts 33(1): 182-194.
  • Breckenridge, J. K and S. M. Bollens (2011) Vertical distribution and migration of decapods larvae in relation to light and tides in Willapa Bay, Washington. Estuaries and Coasts. DOI: 10.1007/s12237-011-9405-7.
  • Breckenridge, J.K. and S.M. Bollens.  Vertical migratory behaviour of decapod larvae in a partially-mixed estuary:  Field and experimental studies.  Ocean Sciences Meeting 2008, Orlando, FL, USA
  • Graham, E.S. and S.M. Bollens. Macrozooplankton community associations with environmental variables in Willapa Bay, WA. ASLO Summer Meeting 2008, St. John’s, NL, Canada