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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Forage Seed and Cereal Research » Research » Research Project #437681

Research Project: Improving the Sustainability and Productivity of Shellfish Culture in Pacific Estuaries

Location: Forage Seed and Cereal Research

Project Number: 2072-63000-005-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Dec 14, 2019
End Date: Dec 13, 2024

Objective:
The long-term goal of this project is to develop an improved understanding of the ecology of bivalve shellfish aquaculture in the estuarine environment in order to increase production by reducing mortality while ensuring that culture practices are sustainable and environmentally acceptable. Bivalves are reared on privately owned or leased tidelands in US West Coast (USWC) estuaries. This project addresses several sources of juvenile mortality and quantifies them at the estuarine landscape scale. Sub-objective 1A advances previous work on annual recruitment of larval and juvenile burrowing shrimp pests by determining whether management practices on aquaculture beds influence shrimp recruitment and subsequent survival. Juvenile shellfish are also subject to emerging pathogens like ostreid herpes virus that have the potential to severely impact oyster farming and to changing water chemistry which is known to cause problems with shell formation and growth of larvae in the hatchery, but has largely unknown effects on juveniles thereafter. Subobjective 1B aims to monitor juvenile oyster growth and mortality along estuarine gradients and determine whether planting practices can improve oyster growth and survival. Finally, USWC shellfish production is also constrained by regulatory actions regarding siting shellfish farms in the estuarine environment. Subobjectives 1C and 1D seek to model the interaction between shellfish culture production, burrowing shrimp and aquatic vegetation at the estuarine seascape scale and describe the function of these habitats for managed species of estuarine fish and invertebrates. Objective 1: Develop management practices for shellfish aquaculture that reduce juvenile mortality and optimize estuarine habitat function. Subobjective 1A: Quantify and model burrowing shrimp recruitment patterns to shellfish beds in West Coast estuaries to determine whether various bed management practices influence shrimp recruitment and survival at the landscape scale. (Dumbauld) Subobjective 1B: Quantify juvenile oyster growth and mortality at the landscape scale comparing habitats and locations as potential factors that reduce effects of stressors including reduced carbonate saturation states and disease vectors. (Dumbauld) Subobjective 1C: Quantify the effects of oyster aquaculture and burrowing shrimp on aquatic vegetation and verify models developed to examine this interaction at the estuarine landscape scale using new tools. (Dumbauld) Subobjective 1D: Quantify the function of intertidal habitats including oyster aquaculture for managed species of fish and invertebrates at the landscape scale.(Dumbauld) Objective 2: Advance and implement genome-enabled improvement technologies for the Pacific oyster.

Approach:
Conduct research to understand the ecology of bivalve shellfish aquaculture in the estuarine environment in order to reduce mortality and increase production while ensuring that culture practices are sustainable and environmentally acceptable. Evaluate several sources of juvenile oyster mortality and quantify effects at the estuarine landscape scale by: 1) examining annual recruitment of larval and juvenile burrowing shrimp pests to determine whether management practices on aquaculture beds influence shrimp recruitment and survival, and 2) monitoring juvenile oyster growth and mortality along estuarine gradients and determining whether planting practices can improve oyster growth and survival in the face of emerging pathogens like ostreid herpes virus and altered seawater water chemistry that have the potential to severely impact oyster farming. Develop a multidisciplinary approach in collaboration with Oregon State University, University of Washington, and other scientists to model the interaction between shellfish culture production, burrowing shrimp and aquatic vegetation at the estuarine seascape scale and describe the function of these estuarine habitats for managed species of estuarine fish and invertebrates. Work with outreach and extension personnel to transfer technology to managers and shellfish industry.