Location: Forage Seed and Cereal Research
2010 Annual Report
Sub-objective 1.1. Determine whether annual recruitment patterns affect population dynamics of burrowing shrimp populations in West Coast estuaries and apply this to control strategies for oyster culture.
Sub-objective 1.2. Evaluate the utility of imadocloprid and selected biological control measures to control newly recruited juvenile shrimp.
Sub-objective 1.3. Quantify selected causes of mortality of juvenile oysters at a landscape scale in Willapa Bay, Washington. Develop a field protocol for evaluating juvenile oyster mortality and test the protocol in additional estuaries.
Objective 2: Quantify utilization of eelgrass, shellfish, and burrowing shrimp dominated habitat by fish and invertebrates at the estuarine landscape scale and quantify the influence of shellfish aquaculture practices on existing estuarine habitats.
Sub-objective 2.1. Quantify fish and invertebrate use of intertidal habitats including oyster aquaculture in Willapa Bay, Washington and evaluate the functional value of these habitats for juvenile English sole.
Sub-objective 2.2. Quantify the effects of oyster aquaculture on aquatic vegetation and utilize habitat maps to examine this interaction at the estuarine landscape scale and over inter-annual time frames.
An underwater video system was developed and used to track fish behavior in oyster, eelgrass and open unstructured habitats in Willapa Bay, Washington. Results suggest that mobile fish and invertebrates and in particular juvenile English sole that utilize estuaries as a nursery in their first year of life, preferentially select structured habitats over open unstructured sand and mud. Further work was begun to elucidate whether this was for protection from larger predators or for feed in and particularly how shellfish aquaculture influences habitat use at a larger landscape scale. This is important for maintaining sustainable aquaculture activities in these marine environments where permits have recently been re-evaluated and management agencies are increasingly concerned with conserving endangered species and protecting essential fish habitats.