Determining the response of Oregon pink shrimp larvae to ocean acidification and warming (2018-20)

George Waldbusser
Oregon State University
College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
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Pink shrimp (Pandalus jordani) are an important revenue source for Oregon’s fishery-dependent communities and are a Marine Stewardship Council-certified sustainable fishery. Currently the fishery is managed with little information about the species’ life history and factors that drive annual variation in stock abundance. Because fisheries managers often make decisions based on limited data and observations, providing them with clear insights into the pink shrimp’s susceptibility to changing environmental conditions, such as increasing ocean acidification, is the best approach to ensure the fishery’s continued economic sustainability. Such an approach allows Oregon’s pink shrimp fishery to plan ahead for adaptive management, rather than simply reacting to environmental change.

In partnership with Scott Groth, Pink Shrimp/South Coast Shellfish Project Leader for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the research team will assess how ocean acidification and warming (increased carbon dioxide and temperature) influence the survival, development, condition, behavior, and metabolism of pink shrimp, from hatching eggs through the post-larval stage. The data from these experiments will be used to define pink shrimp ocean acidification and temperature thresholds (i.e., possible tipping points which, once crossed, have large ecological consequences). In addition, the research team will determine whether citizen-science staining tools, adapted from previous staining kits for juvenile oysters, are applicable for shrimp and valuable to managers and to the fishing fleet.

Throughout the project, researchers will engage directly with Oregon’s pink shrimp program and fleet. The results should provide fisheries managers with key missing data about possible climate-change impacts on larval fitness, while ensuring that fishermen understand the timeline of potential climate-change threats to the population. While pink shrimp currently produce substantial returns for the fishery, anticipating near-term and future threats requires that science clarifies what those threats are—and are not.

OSG Thematic Areas: Adaptation to acute and chronic coastal hazards; Human and natural dimensions of coastal and marine fisheries

National Sea Grant Strategic Plan Focus Areas: Healthy coastal ecosystems, Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

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